Driving a tractor trailer or other large truck is a challenging endeavor. The shear size of these vehicles creates numerous control problems for a driver, which is why truck drivers must go through additional training to earn a CDL, or commercial driver’s license. Even with extra training, tractor trailer accidents in Missouri and around the country occur every day. Sometimes these accidents are caused by other drivers who don’t respect the limitation of a tractor trailer. Here are some things to keep in mind:
– Stopping distance – A tractor trailer can legally weigh up to 80,000 pounds. To put that in perspective, the average passenger car weighs somewhere in the neighborhood of 4,000 pounds. Think of the last time you had to slam on your brakes and how far your car still traveled before actually stopping. Now, multiply that by 20 and you’ll get a sense of how hard it is to stop a tractor trailer. Tests have been done with fully loaded tractor trailers driving at 60 mph and, in some cases, it takes 200 to 300 feet to come to a stop. This is the number one reason not to ride directly in front of a tractor trailer on the highway.
– Blind spots – Again, even if you’ve never driven a tractor trailer, this is a problem that is fairly easy to visualize. Think of the blind spots on a 10 to 12 foot passenger car and then imagine how hard it must be for a truck driver with a rig well over 50 feet to be able to see his blind spots. If at all possible, try not to ride in a truck’s blind spot.
– Turning radius – Somewhat connected to the last point, the length of a truck and trailer can make sharp turns a challenge. Truck drivers have to make extremely wide turns and this may catch other drivers off-guard if they are not prepared.
Respect the power and size of tractor trailers and make sure to give them plenty of room on the roadways.
Even if you do everything in your control to prevent a serious truck accident, an incident may still occur if the truck driver makes a negligent error. If you or someone you love has been involved in an accident, it is advisable to contact a Missouri personal injury attorney to learn your rights as an accident victim.