18 Wheel Trucks Are the Heavyweights of the Road: Here is What You Need to Know to Stay Safe

Auto Accident, Trucking Accidents / December 23, 2021

It’s normal to be somewhat intimidated by the largest trucks on highways.

In addition to the experience of having a massive steel vehicle bearing down on you at 70 miles-per-hour, almost everyone is familiar with the “swoosh sensation” created by an 18-wheel truck passing at high speed. Their huge size allows them to create air currents that can leave normal-sized cars and trucks swaying in the wind.

Obviously, driving a massive machine requires training and careful caution. Yet that isn’t always enough to prevent serious collisions.

Often the best thing you can do to stay safe is to equip yourself with knowledge. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at some essential facts about 18-wheel vehicles.

Just How Large Are These Vehicles?

Your standard 18-wheel truck is between 70 and 80 feet long. Regulations typically cap their weight at 80,000 pounds. However, that is more than 15 times heavier than a standard vehicle – talk about sharing the highway with some behemoths!

Stopping Distance is an Issue

When a vehicle of this size gets moving, stopping becomes a gradual process. Perhaps you’ve seen the “truck pull off” areas that are carved into some mountain highways? They exist because truck drivers sometimes misjudge how long it takes to stop, which can have devastating impact in an area with steep gradients.

Generally speaking, it takes an 18-wheeler two football fields of length to come to a complete stop when they are traveling at high speeds.

What Kinds of Accidents Occur with Large Trucks?

Some of the most frequent accident types that occur with 18-wheelers include the following:

  • Jack knifing – this happens when a driver stops too suddenly, causing the truck trailer to move toward the cab, possibly even becoming parallel with it.
  • Bobtailing – this occurs when trucks drive without trailers, which can change the handling dynamics or make them less stable, as they don’t have the steadying force of all the trailer’s weight. This sometimes heightens the risk of accidents.
  • Rollovers – the massive size of 18 wheelers makes the prone to rolling over, especially if sharp turns are present.
  • Tire blowouts – large trucks often blow tires, which is why trucks have rows of tires, rather than single tires. Multiple unexpected blowouts can lead to serious collisions, however.

What to Do in the Event of a Collision?

If you are in a truck collision, it’s important to contact an experienced attorney. Liability in such collisions may extend to the driver, the trucking company, parts companies, entities responsible for maintaining the road and others.

The right attorney can help ensure that you are compensated for any injuries you have suffered.

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