If you drive on highways or multi-lane roads throughout the year, you probably have shared the road with many large commercial trucks, including 18-wheelers. Alabama is a prime area of the nation for trucks that deliver all types of items across the South and Southeast. A number of factors can make these big rigs quite hazardous for other drivers on the highway. The weight of these vehicles far exceeds the weight of small or medium sized passenger vehicles. This also makes the braking capabilities of these rigs much slower, giving them vulnerability to serious crashes.
What makes 18-wheelers especially dangerous?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) defines large trucks as those having a minimum weight of 10,000 pounds. Many 18-wheelers filled with cargo can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, outweighing passenger vehicles by a factor of about 30. Because of their size and mass, the braking mechanisms on these rigs may take as much as 40 times longer to bring the vehicle to a stop compared to a passenger car.
In addition 18-wheelers and other large trucks are not able to maneuver with the nearly the same agility as standard passenger vehicles. They also have larger blind spots that truck drivers must carefully remain aware of and manage. Besides all of this, drivers of these large rigs often drive for long distances and long hours, leading to potential driver fatigue which is dangerous for them and others on the road.
Why do 18-wheeler accidents occur?
Human error is the most common cause of large truck accidents. Other causes can include external conditions and mechanical failure. When it comes to human error, 18-wheeler drivers may speed, change lanes improperly, tailgate, drive impaired or distracted, or fail to yield. Distracted driving is one the most common reasons for big rig crashes.
When a driver of an 18-wheeler drives distracted, he or she may be engaged in various actions, including texting, other cell phone use, eating or drinking, reaching for items in the cab, among others.
Mechanical failure can cause 18-wheeler crashes as well. One of the most common mechanical failures on big rigs is brake failure. Sometimes tires may blow out.
External conditions that may cause a big 18-wheeler accident include poor weather and roadway conditions such as heavy rain, snow, sleet, fog, and the presence of roadway debris.
Accidents involving 18-wheelers can result in some of the devastating injuries possible on the road, including severe burns, brain injuries, broken bones, lacerations, and more.
If you or a loved one has sustained an injury in a crash with an 18-wheeler, you need strong and competent representation to help you secure fair compensation for your losses. At Mezrano Law Firm, our Alabama truck accident attorneys are highly experienced at helping victims of truck crashes across the state. We are here to help you obtain the settlement you need and deserve through our effective negotiation, and if necessary, litigation capabilities. To set up a free consultation about your case, call us today at 205.206.6300 or leave us a message through our contact form. Our team serves clients across the state from offices in Montgomery, Gadsden, Tuscaloosa, Birmingham, Florence, and Mobile.