According to the American Trucking Association, there are approximately 3 1/2 million professional truck drivers in the United States alone.
Driving down any highway in America and you are bound to see 18 wheelers virtually everywhere. The main interstate highways have the highest percentage of commercial vehicles traveling in ratio to other traffic.
There is a list of things that professional truck drivers know that you may not:
1. Big Rigs Have Blind Spots
Every tractor-trailer driver knows that they have areas in front, behind and on both sides of the rig where they are unable to see other motorists. This is especially true with smaller vehicles and leads to many blind spot accidents.
Motorists traveling around a tractor-trailer should be careful to stay out of the blind spots where the commercial truck driver may not know they are present.
2. 18-Wheelers Take Longer to Stop
Big rigs can take up to 40% more distance to stop than a passenger car or pickup truck. Adverse weather conditions or poor maintenance of the brakes can increase the stopping distance significantly. All drivers face a perception and reaction time that affects passenger cars and commercial drivers equally.
It is the braking distance of the semi-truck that makes leads to many reran truck crashes. After application of the brakes, and perfect conditions a big rig can take 216 feet to come to a complete stop when traveling only 55 miles an hour. Empty trucks require more stopping distance than those that are loaded.
If you have a big rig following closely behind you, consider speeding up or allowing the truck to pass you to reduce the chances of a sudden stop causing a truck wreck.
3. Rarely Are Truck Drivers Injured in a Wreck with an Automobile
Because a big rig can weigh up to 80,000 pounds and a passenger car typically weighs 5000 pounds or less, physics dictates the big rig wins, and the pastor car loses. Vehicles coming into direct contact with a tractor-trailer at highway speeds uniformly end up with serious injury and loss of life. Conversely, because the truck has such a weight and size advantage, the odds of the commercial truck driver being injured in a crash with a passenger car, barring rollover are relatively slim.
A person is injured or killed in a truck accident in the United States every 16 minutes. The DOT estimates that there are over a half 1 million truck accidents each and every year in the US.
4. Truck Drivers Are Held to a Higher Standard
Not only must truck drivers follow the rules of the road that applied to every motorist, but they must also follow the safety rules contained in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, which regulate such things as ours that the trucker may drive vehicle maintenance, etc.
The safety regulations also cover such situations as driving in adverse conditions, safety checklist to ensure the safety of the big rig and requirements on the motor carrier for implementing safety policies for the driver and equipment.
5. Trucking Companies Are Required to Have Commercial Liability Policies
The truck safety regulations require the truck driver and the company to be covered by commercial liability insurance at the minimum of $750,000 and up depending upon the commodities carried.
In practice, larger trucking companies often have multiple layers of insurance with typically one million-dollar policy and with layers of excess above that base liability policy. It is not rare for trucking companies to have policies more than $5 million. With the increased potential for serious injury or fatal accident, the safety regulations require sufficient insurance coverage.
6. Most Companies Train Their Driver in What to Do or Not to Do After a Wreck
Most trucking companies have instituted procedures for their drivers to follow if they are involved in an injury accident. Handbooks and other training reflect the company’s desire that the truck driver not admit fault or give statements to third parties at the scene. Many also require photographs and intercompany forms to be filled out by the driver covering such details as the other parties involved, a short statement of what happened and any witnesses to the crash.
Larger companies may also have a “quick response team” that they dispatched to the scene of an accident shortly after they are notified of a potential liability problem.