You probably know that Florida stands out among the other states in the nation for its wonderful attractions like Disney, sandy beaches, and sunshine.
But you may not know that it also stands out as one of the top 3 states in the nation with the highest number of people killed in tractor trailer crashes.
There are, of course, many ways in which a tractor trailer crash can occur. and many different causes of a crash.
We find, however, that there are 3 different types of tractor trailer crashes and 3 possible causes that tend to be the most prevalent in tractor trailer accident cases.
Tractor Trailers and Other Big Rigs
The main reason why crashes involving tractor trailers or other big rigs are massively dangerous and cause catastrophic injuries is because of the size and weight of the vehicle itself.
Consider the following.
A tractor trailer (also known as an “18-wheeler”) —is made up of a semi-truck and its trailer.
A semi-truck is the actual truck itself (i.e., the part with the engine.) A semi-truck can travel with or without a trailer.
But a tractor trailer is both the truck and the trailer together.
Just the tractor trailer alone—the semi-truck plus a trailer—weighs about 30,000 pounds. And that’s empty!
Just the trailer itself can weigh anywhere from 10,000 to 15,000 pounds.
Loaded, a tractor trailer can average 50,000 pounds. Plus, they are generally 8-9 feet wide and 60-70 feet long.
So the sheer size and weight of a tractor trailer is going to cause a lot of damage if it crashes into a passenger car.
Understanding the dynamics of a tractor trailer accident, along with all contributing factors, applicable laws, possible defendants and causes of an accident is why having a tractor trailer lawyer imperative if you are involved in a tractor trailer crash.
3 Types of Tractor Trailer Accidents
Of course, there are any number of ways in which a tractor trailer accident can occur. However, here are 3 of the most common types of tractor trailer accidents.
The tractor trailer jackknifes
One type of tractor trailer accident is when a tractor trailer “jackknifes.” This occurs when the trailer attached to the semi-truck swings out at an acute angle away from the semi-truck.
The sheer length of a tractor trailer or 18-wheeler —generally 60-70 feet long—make these types of accidents incredibly dangerous.
Tractor trailers or 18-wheelers are susceptible to jackknifing. These types of accidents frequently occur when the truck driver hits the brakes suddenly, but there can be other causes such as downshifting and taking a turn too quickly, or improperly maintained brakes.
Another common type of tractor trailer crash is the rear-end accident. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) states that tractor trailers tend to rear-end other vehicles more frequently than they are rear-ended, causing about 33,000 rear-end collisions each year.
The size and high center of gravity of a trailer coupled with an unstable load, makes tractor trailers particularly vulnerable to rollovers.
When a driver takes corners going too fast, the combination of the size of the trailer, it’s height, and an unstable load can cause it to flip upside down. According to the FMCSA, another major contributor to rollover accidents is driver inattention.
Having looked at some of the common types of tractor trailer accidents, we now turn to some of the most common causes of tractor trailer crashes.
3 common Causes of Tractor Trailer Accidents
By far and away the most common—and most dangerous—cause of tractor trailer crashes is driver fatigue. According to one 1995 study, drowsy driving was the number one problem in commercial trucking.
Although the hours a driver is allowed to drive are strictly regulated by the FMCSA, 1 in 4 drivers report having fallen asleep at the wheel and truckers ranked lack of sleep as 7th in the top 10 factors that cause truck crashes.
Truck drivers are under a lot of pressure to not comply with the laws so that they can deliver their loads on time.
But whether you are driving a truck or car or any other motor vehicle, lack of sleep has been shown to impair your judgment and ability to react to the same, or similar, extent that drunk driving does.
No surprise here. Truck drivers are just as prone to texting and driving or eating while driving as anyone else.
But driving a big rig requires more attention and strength than driving a passenger car does. When truck drivers take their eyes off the road, they can’t see pedestrians or motorcycles or passenger cars. And lives are lost.
Whether it is speeding, not using turn signals, passing on a double yellow line, or something else, reckless driving accounts for a number of tractor trailer crashes.
Long-haul truckers on delivery deadlines are not always safe and careful drivers.
The ramifications of a tractor trailer crash are almost as big as the big rigs themselves. Many crashes involving tractor trailers result in death to those in passenger cars. In other cases, the injuries suffered are catastrophic.
Investigating tractor trailer crash cases requires a certain level of experience and expertise that only a knowledgeable tractor trailer lawyer has.
Experienced Tractor Trailer Lawyers in Florida
Our attorneys are here to help injured individuals obtain the compensation they deserve. If you were involved in an accident, contact us here or simply call our firm at: 777-JOHN. We serve clients throughout Florida. Our main office is in Orange Park, but we have consulting offices in Palatka, Middleburg, Keystone, Starke, Gainesville, and Ocala.