Drivers of semi-trucks are required to undergo extra training and obtain a higher class of driver’s license than drivers of passenger vehicles.They are highly regulated, as are the truck and trailer and the employer. Most drivers follow the rules by driving safely and properly inspecting their rigs before heading out on the highways. However, the few who don’t, pose dangers for everyone else, especially when driving at night when many fatal truck accidents occur.
The sheer size and weight of these vehicles almost ensures that any passenger vehicle that collides with a semi-trailer or 18-wheeler , will sustain major damage and the passengers will be severely injured or killed. Some of the reasons these accidents occur are when:
Passenger vehicles are at a severe disadvantage when they collide with a semi-truck. When trucks are not properly lit, cars cannot see the outline of the truck while traveling at highway speeds until it is too late. Trucks crossing highways at slow speeds at night cause underride accidents where a vehicle hits the long side of the trailer at high speed. The vehicle goes underneath the trailer, and kills the driver of the car instantly.
When trucks jackknife, the trailer turns into the front of the truck. Any cars traveling next to or behind these jackknifing vehicles are at risk of colliding with the truck. Often the trucks that roll into themselves will either block the highway, travel into oncoming traffic or roll over into the median. Cars are often unable to stop, especially when facing the same road conditions as a truck driver and collide into a fast-moving truck that is turning into and over itself.
Improperly loaded trailers are also responsible for many accidents. When their loads shift, the driver can lose control of the entire rig. If the driver loses control or the trailer brakes malfunction, everyone in the vicinity of the truck is in danger because it can roll over, shift out of its lane into another car or spill the contents onto the highway.