Truck accidents often result in catastrophic property damage and severe injuries. In addition, Kentucky is one of the ten states with the highest rates of truck collisions.
Knowing why these crashes can be so dangerous supports safe driving behavior for local motorists.
Size and weight
Commercial trucks, including tractor-trailers and big rigs, can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. They are significantly larger and heavier than typical passenger vehicles. When a collision occurs, the substantial impact force often causes extensive property damage and catastrophic injuries.
The size of semi trucks makes it challenging for drivers to make fast moves to avoid accidents if obstacles arise. Trucks require more time and distance to come to a complete stop. If a truck driver needs to make an emergency stop, the extended braking distance can cause collisions.
Trucks typically travel on highways with speed limits of at least 65 miles per hour. When accidents happen at these speeds, the consequences can be devastating. Speed can be a factor in collisions when smaller vehicles become trapped under the truck, often causing severe injuries and fatalities.
Trucks often transport heavy and sometimes hazardous cargo. In a collision, truck contents may spill onto the road, posing dangers to other drivers and pedestrians. Hazardous materials can damage the environment and further complicate the impact of an accident.
Fatigue and driver error
Truck drivers often face demanding schedules and long hours on the road. The resulting fatigue can impair reaction time and decision-making abilities, increasing the likelihood of accidents. Driver errors, such as distracted driving, speeding and failure to obey traffic rules, also contribute to the catastrophic nature of truck accidents.
Poorly maintained trucks and inadequate inspections can lead to mechanical failures on the road. Brake failures, tire blowouts and other mechanical issues can result in loss of control, contributing to accidents with severe consequences.
Kentucky had a truck accident fatality rate of 2.8 per 100,000 people, compared to a national average of 1.7. Understanding the dangers lets you take steps to stay safe.