Anyone who drives on the highway should recognize the risks of driving around large commercial trucks. There are many types of commercial vehicles including box trucks, delivery trucks, buses, and more. While any of these vehicles has the potential to be involved in a serious crash, the most dangerous trucks on the roads are the large tractor-trailers.
Tractor-trailers can legally weigh up to 80,000 pounds when loaded with cargo and can be about 30 times as large as passenger cars. These hulking vehicles are difficult to maneuver and require specialized training to be allowed to operate them. Furthermore, there are different types of tractor-trailers and each comes with its own unique risks of accidents and injuries. The following are three examples of how different kinds of tractor-trailers can lead to crashes.
Semi-truck –A standard semi-truck has a large cab (the tractor) with a large rectangular, enclosed trailer attached by a coupling device, which allows the truck to make turns. Because of the long, opaque trailers that carry cargo and the ground clearance of these trucks, the blind spots on semi-trucks are substantial. These blind spots are often referred to as “no-zones” and they exist on both sides of the trailer, as well as behind the truck and directly in front of the truck. Many crashes occur because a driver did not recognize that a vehicle was in a blind spot.
Flatbed truck – A flatbed truck is similar to a semi, though the trailer is not enclosed. These flat trailers with no walls are intended to haul oversized or awkwardly-shaped cargo that would not fit in a traditional semi trailer. Because of the open nature of flatbed trailers, however, there is a greater risk of cargo falling off the trailer in the event of a crash. When heavy or bulky items fall into the roadway, it can result in additional damage and injuries.
Tanker truck – A tanker truck has a long and cylindrical trailer attached by a coupling that is meant to transport liquids and gases that are not transportable in a regular trailer. These trailers can easily be thrown off-balance and be involved in rollover accidents, which can cause widespread damage. Additionally, the cargo in tankers may be toxic (HAZMAT trucks) or flammable (gasoline), so a cargo spill can be particularly dangerous.