Traffic accidents involving large trucks such as 18-wheelers (also known as tractor trailers or semi trucks) as well as other oversized vehicles such as dump trucks and delivery trucks often cause more damage and worse injuries than accidents only involving automobiles. The main reason for this is that these trucks are so much larger and heavier than cars – up to 30 times heavier, in some cases.
Aside from the basic physics of a car-truck accident (the huge difference in mass between the two vehicles causing the car to be heavily damaged), there are other factors that make trucks more dangerous to motorists. These include the facts that large trucks take longer to brake, are harder to steer and maneuver, and may be carrying cargo that can cause heavy damage if it comes loose.
As a result of all of this, motorists who are involved in truck accidents are far more likely to suffer serious injuries such as spinal cord damage, brain damage, life-threatening crushing injuries or death.
Large trucks are also more dangerous on the road because drivers experience blind spots (areas where the size of the truck prevents the driver from seeing all of the vehicles in the vicinity) – and these trucks are also more prone to tipping over. In addition, large trucks require more room when turning, which can interfere in other lanes of traffic.
For these reasons, it’s a good idea for motorists to always keep well back from large trucks on the road. You should also use your turn signal well before you attempt to pass a truck and pay close attention when a large truck is making a turn.