Often, the drivers of passenger vehicles do not realize that commercial trucks have operating limitations that passenger vehicles do not have. One of those operating differences is stopping distance.
Because large commercial trucks are much heavier than passenger vehicles, it can take these trucks 40% farther than passenger vehicles to come to a complete stop. This increased stopping distance contributes to numerous accidents between commercial vehicles and passenger vehicles every year.
Some collisions are caused by a truck driver’s reckless actions
Because of the difference in braking capability, responsible truckers will try to leave a significant amount of extra space between the truck and the vehicle in front of it. When a trucker does not leave enough space in front of the truck, he or she risks causing an underriding collision. This is a particularly devastating type of collision that involves a smaller vehicle going under the truck. Underriding can occur on any side of the truck, but when the truck tailgates the car in front of it, the car is at risk of going under the front of the truck.
You can take action to prevent some collisions
Although some collisions are caused by the reckless actions of truck drivers, collisions can also be caused by other drivers on the road. As you share the road with commercial trucks, consider what actions you can take to try to prevent being involved in a collision with a commercial truck.
Preventative actions you may be able to take, include:
- Maintaining plenty of space between you and a commercial truck
- Not cutting in front of a commercial truck
- Avoiding weaving through traffic
- Leaving enough space in front of you, so you can likely avoid slamming on your brakes
- Not passing commercial vehicles on downgrades
- Allowing a commercial truck to safely pass you if it is following too closely
Collisions between commercial trucks and passenger vehicles often have devastating results for the occupants of the passenger vehicles. If you are injured in a crash involving a commercial truck, it may be appropriate to take legal action. You may be able to receive compensation for your medical bills and other expenses associated with your injuries.