As Houston trucking accident lawyers, we are sometimes asked about the key dangers of tractor-trailers and 18-wheelers. These dangers are critical for all drivers to understand.
Our country’s roadways are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. At any given time—day or night—tractor trailers and 18-wheelers are criss-crossing the country, often rushing to get their loads to where they need to be. In other words, the roadways are never safe, even in the late-hours of the night. Recently, on January 20, 2017, a driver was killed at 1:30 am on Interstate 10 east of Houston, Texas in a rear-end collision with an 18-wheeler. Accidents involving tractor-trailers can very easily result in serious injury or even death. And these accidents can happen in an instant. There are certain dangers that all drivers should be aware of to help minimize the ever-present risk of a serious accident.
So, what are the key dangers of heavy trucks? Number 1, they are incredibly heavy. A typical tractor-trailer can weigh 80,000 pounds, or 40 tons. In comparison, a normal vehicle weighs only 5,000 pounds. When 80,000 pounds crashes into 5,000 pounds, very serious injuries and death result.
Number 2, tractor-trailers take a long time and distance to stop. Drivers make mistakes. In an ordinary vehicle, the driver can ordinarily apply the brakes when a mistake is made, and stop relatively quickly. Conversely, when the driver of an 18-wheeler makes a mistake and has to apply the brakes, it takes the truck a long time to stop. In other words, it can be very difficult to slow down and minimize the harmful effects of their mistakes.
Number 3, tractor-tailors are much more powerful than ordinary vehicles. This means higher speeds and more devastating accidents.