Commercial trucks deliver the products that stock store shelves and power industries nationwide. They play a pivotal role in the nation’s transportation system.
However, the power and size of trucks can create distinct challenges and risks that set them apart from the average vehicle on the highway.
Greater size and weight
Truck accidents are especially concerning because these vehicles are substantially larger and heavier than most cars on the road. When a collision occurs between a truck and a smaller vehicle, the results can be catastrophic.
The immense weight of trucks means that they carry considerable momentum. Even at lower speeds, this can translate into a large amount of force upon impact. The energy involved in a truck collision is powerful, potentially causing severe injuries or even fatalities.
Another factor that heightens the danger of truck accidents is maneuverability. Trucks tend to be less agile and slower to respond to sudden changes in traffic conditions. When a truck driver needs to swerve or brake suddenly to avoid a collision, the inherent limitations of these vehicles can become a significant problem.
Trucks often struggle to make abrupt movements, which can result in collisions that might have been avoidable for smaller, more nimble vehicles. This lack of maneuverability further increases the risk of truck accidents, particularly in congested traffic or when navigating through winding or hilly terrain.
Lack of safe parking
The shortage of parking spaces for large trucks is a hidden danger on many highways. Truckers, bound by strict drive time rules, often find themselves in precarious situations due to the lack of safe parking areas.
This shortage leads to trucks stopping on ramps and freeway shoulders, increasing the risk of accidents. Unfortunately, 55 fatal crashes involving trucks occurred in 2020 near highway exit ramps. Truck accidents linked to unsafe parking also contributed to an additional 4,000 injuries. This safety issue extends beyond truckers to affect the entire transportation system. Efforts to expand truck parking are ongoing, but the shortage remains a significant contributor to accidents.
A safer future for the nation’s highways demands collaborative solutions, recognizing that the dangers of truck accidents impact everyone on the road.