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Risks you face when driving alongside semi-trucks

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On December 26, 2018, a minivan collided with a semi-truck on the 110 Freeway in South Los Angeles, injuring three people. The front of the vehicle crumpled and split, pinning the driver who later had to be cut free.

This frightening accident is a clear reminder for drivers everywhere that semi-trucks do not operate like other cars or vans, and they require special attention on the road. When you are driving near semi-trucks or any big rigs, it is important to remember the dangers they present.

Avoiding driving dangers when near large trucks

Eighteen-wheel semi-trucks have features that make them more dangerous to you than average vehicles. These include the following:

  • Long, heavy trailers that can swing and sway with the wind or truck movements
  • Large blind spots that can hide your entire vehicle, making you invisible
  • Tire treads on trucks that are designed to shred apart creating road hazards
  • Heavy engines that are slow to stop, tend to roll back
  • Tired drivers who may be overworked

While you are not responsible for a truck driver's negligence, you can help to protect yourself by knowing about these dangers.

How your driving matters

According to the National Traffic Safety Institute, collisions with large trucks most often occur during the day on straight, dry roads and usually injure the occupants of the smaller vehicles, not the truck drivers.

Professional truck drivers are usually good drivers, paid based on their performance and maintenance of a clean driving record. They face severe penalties for speeding or distracted driving. You likely face less penalties and yet more temptation to drive while distracted, such as eating, talking or texting. You have probably done these without severe consequences, which can lead you to feel safer than you actually are.

Without knowledge of the unique dangers associated with trucks and frequent causes of accidents, you are at a higher risk for a serious collision with these large vehicles resulting in severe injuries. Without compensation for your injuries, you may be liable for extensive medical bills and years of future pain.

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