How are truck accidents different than car accidents?
It is very important to differentiate between truck accidents and car accidents from the point of view of road safety. These differences not only impact the nature and severity of accidents but also have severe consequences for legal, insurance, and regulatory implications.
Trucks and heavy vehicles operate differently from standard passenger vehicles in many physical and legal aspects. A fully loaded large commercial truck weighs 20-30 times more than a passenger car.
This difference in size and weight will lead to more severe consequences, leading to a collision. A truck accident has a much greater impact force and usually leads to more severe injuries when they occur, as well as destroying property significantly. But how are truck accidents different than car accidents?
The best Houston auto accident lawyer can help you understand the consequences of different cases depending on the vehicle involved in the accident. Let’s get a closer look.
Size of the Vehicle
Trucks differ significantly in size and weight from regular passenger cars, which results in a drastically different collision force during an accident. Trucks, especially semi-trailers or 18-wheelers, can weigh up to 80,000 pounds when fully loaded, as compared to an average car’s weight of about 3,000 to 4,000 pounds.
This means that a truck has significantly more mass and, therefore, more momentum. When a truck hits a smaller vehicle, the physics of motion dictates that the smaller vehicle will suffer significant impacts.
With that being said, trucks also have a higher center of gravity that increases the intensity of collisions. It is capable of causing rollovers or making the truck jackknife and thus introduces additional dangers not only to the demanding driver of the truck but also to other users on the road.
Maneuvering trucks with large sizes and long lengths are often not easy, which can lead to accidents. The most prominent challenges include:
- Bigger vehicles have a larger turning radius. This can cause problems like the “squeeze play” where a truck accidentally pins a car on the curb as it makes a right turn.
- Trucks take a longer distance to stop in comparison with cars because of their heavy weight. A fully loaded truck traveling at highway speeds might require the equivalent of two football fields to stop. This increased stopping distance may result in rear-end collisions if the truck driver does not have proper following distances or stop on time.
- Trucks have larger blind spots on all four sides, known as “No-Zones”. These blind spots are much bigger than those of cars, and truck drivers have great difficulty seeing other vehicles, significantly when changing lanes or turning.
Severity of Injuries
Other factors that contribute to the severity of truck accidents than car ones are simply that trucks are larger and heavier. When a big truck crashes into a small passenger car, more often than not, the physics of what happens in these crashes usually falls harshly on those driving the smaller vehicle.
Truck accidents are quite often severe when it comes to injuries, and such traumas can be traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, broken bones, internal bleeding, or even deaths. Such injuries are more likely life-threatening or cause long-term disability than what would have been the case in car accidents.
Statistics are always higher in fatality rates between accidents where large trucks are involved as compared to cases with only passenger vehicles. Trucks are much heavier and higher in the ground than cars; thus, crashes involving them can be even more drastic, which often leads to a deadly outcome.
Property Damage in Truck vs. Car Accidents
Truck accidents generally cause much greater damage to property than car accidents. This increased damage is due to the large size and mass of trucks, which literally can cause massive destruction on impact.
When a truck collides with an ordinary passenger car, it is usually the latter that suffers serious damage. A regular car lacks the structural integrity to withstand a collision with a heavy commercial truck and usually ends up totaled or having to pay for extensive repairs.
When accidents involve commercial trucks or big rigs instead of regular passenger cars, distinct legal and insurance issues should be discussed, here’s an explanation of these complexities:
Commercial vehicles usually require higher insurance coverage than passenger cars because of the possibility that damage caused in truck accidents could be much worse and lead to more critical injuries. This implies that when a truck is involved in an accident, bigger insurance policies could be implicated, and the claims process might become much more intricate.
- Trucking accidents typically implicate a number of parties: the driver of the truck, the company that owns or leases the truck to its driver, the owner of any cargo in transit, and perhaps other drivers on the road. Identifying the party responsible and allocating blame among these parties can be a complicated legal procedure.
- Since truck accidents can be very complicated and may have life-threatening potential, it is not uncommon to see both parties in legal proceedings hire an expert witness, such as accident reconstruction specialists or medical experts. Legal processes can be further complicated by these experts.
- In different truck accident cases, there may be several insurance companies involved, such as the trucking company, the insurer of the cargo owner, and perhaps others. Resolving claims can be challenging as you need to coordinate and negotiate with these various kinds of insurers.
- Due to the possibility of considerable damages in truck accidents, settlement negotiations can be lengthy and complicated. Both parties may negotiate extensively to establish a fair settlement amount.
- The duration within which victims of an accident can file a lawsuit is subject to state laws. On the other hand, it could be shorter for truck accidents,, and not observing deadlines can lead to loss of the right to claim compensation.
Safety Tips to Avoid Truck Accidents
Definitely, tips on safety when trying to avoid truck and car accidents are important for all motorists, as well as truck drivers, to ensure that there is a minimal possibility of having road accidents. Here’s an explanation of some key safety tips:
- The most useful safety tip is to drive at a safe distance from a large truck. Trucks have larger distances before they stop, and thus, a safe distance will give you time to react if the truck has to brake sharply.
- It is always advised to use your turn signals that indicate your intentions when you are changing lanes or merging onto highways. When moving in front of a truck driver, give them ample notice.
- Make your vehicle visible to truck drivers. Avoid driving in a truck’s shadow and use your headlights when necessary to increase visibility, especially during bad weather or at dawn/dusk.
- In truck-dominated areas, obey posted speed limits. Speeding slows down your reaction time and increases the likelihood of accidents.
Contact Mokaram Law Firm Today!
Truck accidents can be very life-threatening and can cause serious injuries that can lead you to take rounds of court. For this, you need to hire the best attorney to tackle your case. Mokaram Law Firm has the most skilled attorneys out there to help you deal with truck accidents in the best way possible. Dial (281) 609-9224 today to book your consultations now.