What Makes Tractor Trailers So Dangerous on Florida Roads?
Compared to passenger vehicles, tractor-trailers are much larger in terms of size and weight. This rather noticeable difference between tractor-trailers and regular cars contributes to the severity of personal injury inflicted upon those who happen to be involved in a tractor-trailer accident.
Unfortunately, it is extremely rare for victims to suffer only minor injuries or no injury whatsoever in a vehicle collision involving a tractor-trailer. The same can be said about other types of truck accidents involving 18-wheelers, semi-trucks, and other commercial trucks.
Injuries caused by tractor-trailers vary from fractured bones and traumatic brain injuries to paralysis and death. These are not the kinds of injuries one can walk away from.
Tractor Trailer Accident in Florida
A perfect illustration of how dangerous tractor-trailer accidents can be was a recent collision on Interstate 95 near Palm Bay. According to Florida TODAY, multiple lanes of I-95 were blocked after a tractor-trailer crash left two people with non-life-threatening injuries.
The accident occurred near the Malabar Road exit just after 1 p.m. The crash happened when a tractor-trailer rear-ended a sedan. As shown in the pictures, the vehicle was badly mangled on the side of the road.
One victim refused to be hospitalized, while the other two were taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
Why Are Tractor Trailer Accidents So Dangerous?
As evident from tractor-trailer accidents on Florida’s roadways, these crashes can block multiple lanes for hours, cause mayhem, and result in serious injuries and deaths. The increased dangers associated with collisions involving tractor-trailers are due to the following factors:
- The size of the vehicle. Tractor-trailers can weigh up to 80,000, which is up to 20 times more than the average passenger car in the U.S. As you can imagine, the impact of a collision with a truck of this size can cause catastrophic consequences.
- Reduced braking ability. Tractor-trailers need considerably more distance to come to a full stop compared to smaller vehicles. The average tractor-trailer needs about 350 feet to come to a halt when traveling at 60 mph.
- Poor maneuverability. Lack of maneuverability in tractor-trailers makes it more challenging for a driver to avoid debris and hazards on the road. Poor maneuverability is also one of the reasons why truckers need more space when performing wide turns.
- Carrying hazardous or overloaded cargo. While some tractor-trailers carry flammable materials, explosives, and other hazardous types of cargo, other trucks are simply overloaded, which makes them even less maneuverable and more likely to cause a catastrophic vehicle crash.
Causes of Truck Accidents Involving Tractor Trailers
Although there can be dozens of causes of truck accidents, crashes involving tractor-trailers can be broken down into the following categories:
- Rear-end crashes. As evident from the most recent tractor-trailer collision on I-95, rear-end accidents are not uncommon, primarily due to the fact that large trucks need more time to stop.
- Wide turns. As mentioned earlier, trucks need more time to complete a turn. If an impatient motorist fails to give the trucker a reasonable amount of time to complete the maneuver, a collision is inevitable.
- Shifting cargo. Since tractor-trailers are often carrying cargo, it is not uncommon for these big trucks to overturn or jackknife due to overloaded or improperly loaded trailers.
- Underride accidents. Most underride accidents occur when the driver of the smaller car fails to stop in time in front of the trailer, or the trucker stops too abruptly.
- Improper maneuvers. A collision can be caused by a trucker’s failure to maintain a safe speed, stop at traffic signs and stop signs, or maintain an adequate following distance.
- Stopped trucks. Stopped tractor-trailers are almost always a potential hazard for other vehicles because they limit other motorists’ visibility and take up a lot of space on the road.
Regardless of how your tractor-trailer collision happened, speak to a West Palm Beach trucking accident attorney from Pike & Lustig, LLP, to discuss liability. Call at 561-291-8298 to receive a case review.