Rear-end truck wrecks can be serious and even fatal.
Tractor-trailers are large, heavy vehicles that can cause serious damage and catastrophic injuries in a rear-end accident. Unfortunately, these types of accidents are far too common in Alabama and across the country.
If you've been involved in a rear-end truck accident, it's important to talk to an experienced truck accident lawyer to review your legal rights and options. At Dean Waite & Associates, LLC, we can provide the support you need to pursue justice and fight for the compensation you deserve. To learn how we can help you, contact us today for a free case evaluation.
Here are five key reasons why 18-wheelers are more likely to cause a rear-end accident.
1) Increased braking distance
Tractor-trailers take much longer to stop than other vehicles on the road due to their size and weight. Keep in mind that a fully-loaded semi-truck can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. That's an incredible amount of mass that has to be brought to a halt, meaning the truck driver's margin for error is extremely small.
The stopping distance of an 18-wheeler can be up to 20 times greater than that of a passenger vehicle. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) provides guidelines for how quickly a fully-loaded commercial vehicle should be able to stop in different conditions. For example, a fully-loaded semi-truck going 55 mph takes approximately 355 feet to come to a complete stop. That's longer than the length of a football field, and in situations where a trucker is trying to avoid a crash, every inch matters.
Sometimes, especially with inexperienced truckers, drivers may not yet be familiar with the sheer size and power of the vehicle they are operating. This can lead to catastrophic mistakes, such as not leaving enough space between them and the vehicle in front of them, which can ultimately cause a rear-end truck accident.
2) Overloaded trailers
Overloading trucks makes the issues mentioned above even worse. This extra weight can make it difficult for the driver to control the truck, particularly when making sudden stops.
Likewise, overweight trucks accelerate more when driving downhill, and truck drivers may find it extremely challenging to apply the brakes if traffic in front slows down or stops.
3) Distracted driving
Distracted driving is a major safety hazard for any driver, but it's especially dangerous for drivers of 18-wheelers and other big rigs. One of the most dangerous forms of distracted driving is texting, which is why the FMCSA has imposed strict regulations prohibiting truckers from using handheld devices for texting or other purposes.
These regulations are critical to keeping our roads safe, but that doesn't mean truckers always abide by them. For example, according to the FMCSA, more than 13% of truck drivers admitted to texting while driving in a recent survey. It's easy for a texting driver to fail to notice a slowing or stopped vehicle in front until it's too late to avoid a collision.
Truckers who drive big rigs and commercial trucks often speed to meet delivery deadlines. Speeding is especially dangerous when the weather is bad, as the risk of a rear-end truck accident is greatly increased due to decreased visibility and slippery roads.
Truckers should adjust their driving to the road conditions, but many fail to do so. This can lead to a rear-end accident with severe consequences. Remember, it takes longer for tractor-trailers to come to a complete stop, even if the trucker slams on the brakes, and that's even more of a problem when the road is slippery.
5) Impaired driving
A trucker who is fatigued or under the influence of alcohol or drugs is impaired and a risk to everyone on the road. Federal hours of service regulations require truckers to drive for certain periods and then rest before continuing. Unfortunately, these regulations are often ignored, and tired truckers drive for longer periods than what's allowed by law.
Drug and alcohol use can also contribute to a rear-end truck crash. Even small amounts of alcohol can impair a driver's judgment and reaction time, so truckers must remain sober while behind the wheel. Prescriptions and over-the-counter medications can also affect a trucker's ability to drive safely.
How can a truck accident lawyer help?
If you have been involved in a rear-end accident with a tractor-trailer, it's important to seek legal advice from an experienced attorney who can help you take on the trucking company and get the compensation you deserve.
At Dean Waite & Associates, LLC, our experienced truck accident lawyers can protect your rights and aggressively advocate for your best interests while you focus on healing. We understand the complexities of cases involving truck wrecks, we have the resources to thoroughly investigate your accident, and we have the expertise to hold all responsible parties accountable for their negligence.
See what our dedicated legal team can do for you. Contact us today for a free case evaluation. Our office is in Mobile, Alabama, and we would be honored to talk to you about your potential legal case.