Semi trucks, also known as tractor-trailers, are essential for transporting goods across the country. However, these commercial vehicles can also pose a hazard when precautions are not taken.
Although semi trucks are a common sight in most cities, highways, and rural roads, it’s important to know some lesser-known facts that can help you avoid a truck accident.
1. Semi Trucks Have Limited Visibility
Given their presence on roads, many drivers assume semi trucks have a visibility advantage over other vehicles. However, this is untrue.
One of the most important things to remember when driving near a semi truck is that the driver’s visibility is very limited. The size and height of a truck’s cabin can make it far more difficult for a driver to see other vehicles, especially those driving close to the truck’s sides or rear.
Some of the most common semi truck accidents caused by poor visibility include:
- Lane change accidents
- Rear-end collisions
- Turning accidents
- Pedestrian impacts
It’s wise to give semi trucks plenty of space and avoid driving in their blind spots. They have four blind spots — one on each side of the truck, one 20 feet directly in front of the cabin, and one 30 feet behind the trailer. Whenever you can’t see the truck driver in their side mirrors, they literally can’t see you either.
2. Semi Trucks Require More Time and Distance to Stop
Another lesser-known fact about semi trucks is that these vehicles require more time and distance to stop compared to cars. Depending on the weight of its load, it can take a semi truck up to 400 feet to come to a complete stop.
Although most modern commercial trucks are equipped with air brakes to help with speed reduction, many factors can affect how these brake systems function.
Avoid merging in front of a semi truck when there isn’t enough space to do so safely. When in doubt, it’s better to let these vehicles pass you.
3. Semi Trucks Have Strict Weight Limits
Federal laws regulate the maximum weight a semi truck can carry. These weight limits are in place to protect the safety of other drivers on the road. Overloaded semi trucks can be more challenging to maneuver and can cause the driver to lose control.
If you notice a visibly overloaded truck, you can report it to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. This federal entity regulates commercial vehicles and hands out violations whenever appropriate.
If you are involved in a crash with an overloaded semi truck, it’s essential to determine whether the vehicle complied with federal weight standards. If your attorney concludes that the truck was overloaded, you may be able to pursue additional damages for negligence.
4. Semi Trucks Must Follow Strict Maintenance Schedules
Along with federal weight restrictions, semi truck owners must also comply with strict maintenance schedules. Because commercial vehicles are a hazard to drivers and pedestrians, they must be checked regularly for broken or faulty components.
Even a minor issue with a semi truck’s brakes, tires, or engine can have detrimental effects and cause an accident.
Semi truck owners must keep logs of the maintenance they perform, including:
- Service requests
- Incident reports
Failure to follow maintenance schedules can contribute to crashes and make the truck driver or trucking company liable for damages. If a semi truck injures you, your attorney may conduct an in-depth investigation to look into the truck’s maintenance history.
Knowing How Semi Trucks Work Can Help Prevent a Crash
Although most drivers encounter semi trucks regularly, these oversized machines behave far differently than your average vehicle. Because of their size and weight, semi trucks pose a greater threat to the health and safety of other motorists.
If you share the road with commercial vehicles, you should always remember to keep a safe distance and know that trucks are held to stricter legal standards. Staying informed about the nuances of semi trucks can help you avoid a tragic crash.
If you are ever in a truck accident, you may have the right to substantial compensation. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you hold the trucking company and truck driver accountable. Contact an injury law firm today to schedule a free consultation.
Contact Our Truck Accident Law Firm in Los Angeles, CA
If you were injured in an accident in Los Angeles, CA or you lost a loved one and you need legal assistance, please contact us to schedule a free consultation. One of our Los Angeles truck accident lawyers at M&Y Personal Injury Lawyers will get in touch with you soon.