Truck size and weight impacting accidents

How Truck Size and Weight Contribute to Accidents

One of the main reasons trucks are such a common source of fatal and serious injuries is their enormous size. When you put a tractor-trailer next to a standard passenger vehicle, a loaded tractor-trailer may be more than 20 times heavier than a passenger vehicle. In any truck accident, a truck’s size and weight both contribute significantly to the severity of the accident and the outcome.

Have you been injured in a truck accident in Pittsburgh? We’re here to help you fight for the compensation you’re owed. Call Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman at 412-253-2925 or fill out our online contact form to have a team member reach out to you.

The Size and Weight Differences Between Trucks and Other Vehicles

To be an efficient way to get cargo from point A to point B, trucks must be significantly larger than other vehicles. This is fine in most circumstances—truck drivers are heavily trained and work under strict federal trucking regulations. But when a truck driver is fatigued, overworked, or impaired, that’s dozens of tons of metal and cargo that are uncontrolled on the road. 

Consider this: a loaded tractor-trailer could be as heavy as 40 tons. On the other hand, the average weight of a car is about two tons. This type of size disparity will always put the occupants of the smaller vehicle in harm’s way.

You also have to look at the way the weight is distributed in a truck to understand why they cause accidents. A truck is several times longer than a regular passenger vehicle. As a result, they have significantly larger blind spots and are much more difficult to operate. This puts truck drivers at a massive disadvantage.

Risks Associated with Large or Overloaded Trucks

Drivers and passengers face a number of risks when sharing the road with tractor-trailers. First, a truck needs much longer to stop than a smaller vehicle. If there’s a sudden traffic backup or change in weather, any truck in the vicinity will need several seconds longer to come to a complete stop. These seconds matter when you’re surrounded by vehicles and have no way out.

Additionally, trucks are much more top-heavy than other vehicles. Their high center of gravity increases the likelihood of a rollover, which can have devastating consequences for everyone involved. Rollovers can lead to crushed vehicles, multiple fatalities, tons of debris on the road, and hazardous chemicals in the air and water supply.

Overloaded trucks are perhaps the greatest danger of all. Yes, there are federal limits on how much any given commercial truck can carry. However, that doesn’t stop some trucking companies and cargo loaders from blowing right past these limits. When a truck is loaded beyond its weight capacity, every single component is pushed past its limits. The likelihood of a tire blowout or component failure goes up drastically, and when that happens, a crash is likely.

Limiting the Dangers of Tractor-Trailers

Unfortunately, there’s little to be done about the size and weight of tractor-trailers; those features are what make them capable of transporting the majority of the nation’s goods and supplies. However, drivers can take extra precautions to avoid accidents while sharing the road with commercial trucks.

First, drivers should always be aware of the size and weight differences between their vehicles and tractor-trailers. This can help them avoid swerving in front of commercial trucks, staying in their blind spots, or tailgating, as it reminds them that the truck cannot respond to changes in traffic as quickly as they can.

Additionally, drivers should always leave more space than they think they need while near a tractor-trailer. Tractor-trailers’ blind spots are much larger than those on any passenger vehicle, and leaving additional space ensures that truck drivers have the space they need to operate safely.

Schedule Your Free Consultation with Caroselli Beachler & Coleman

When a truck accident leaves you injured, out of work, and without a vehicle, turn to the team at Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman. We’ll fight for what you deserve. Set up your free consultation right away by calling our Pittsburgh office at 412-253-2925 or contacting us online.