At the Law Office of Richard Hay in Kentucky, we know that if you crash into a large truck or it crashes into you, you and your passengers likely will suffer more injuries than the truck driver. In addition, the extent and severity of your injuries likely will be greater.
As set forth by FindLaw, here are the top five things you need to know about big truck crashes.
1. Commercial carriers
Any large truck used in someone’s business and/or in transporting commercial goods is a commercial carrier, requiring its driver to have a commercial driver’s license in order to operate it. Examples of commercial carriers include the following:
- Vehicle transport trucks
- Tanker trucks
- Cattle transport trucks
- Delivery trucks
2. Truck sizes and weights
Commercial carriers usually are big and heavy. The typical tractor-trailer with two trailers is 53 feet long and weighs over 80,000 pounds when fully loaded. Given that the weight of a typical passenger vehicle is 3,000 pounds, it is not difficult to see that you and your passengers are at a distinct disadvantage in any car-truck crash.
3. Truck “no zone”
Because of their size, large trucks have a “no zone.” This is the area behind and to either side of the truck where its driver has little or no visibility. You need to be aware that when you approach a large truck from the rear, its driver cannot see you or your vehicle when you are directly behind the truck or beginning to pass it on either its left or right side.
Due to a large truck’s length, weight and inability to stop quickly, it is prone to jackknifing, i.e., bending into a V-shape during an uncontrolled skid. Just because a truck jackknifes does not mean that its driver was inattentive or driving recklessly. Often there is no way to prevent a jackknife, especially if the road is slippery and/or the driver needs to stop more quickly than he can. It goes without saying that a jackknifed truck poses a substantial hazard to you and your passengers, whether it is in the road ahead of you or off to one side.
5. Hazardous materials
Obviously tanker trucks carry gasoline and other flammable liquids. But virtually any truck can carry hazardous materials, whether solid, liquid or gas. Be particularly vigilant around any truck displaying the hazardous materials emblem, as your risk of being injured in a fire, explosion or other catastrophe increases exponentially whenever a crash involves hazardous materials.
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