Even when a truck driver is operating their vehicle safely and appropriately, driving around a large truck can be dangerous. Truck drivers have large blind spots that prevent them from seeing other cars, require more room and distance to stop, and may experience an event beyond their control that is dangerous, such as a shift of cargo.
With this in mind, in the event that the truck driver is doing something that is unsafe and inappropriate behind the wheel (such as speeding), the risk of an accident is increased dramatically. If you notice a speeding truck on an Alabama road, keep your distance. Consider these reasons why speeding trucks are so risky and the dangers that they pose:
Trucks Already Require More Time to Stop than Do Passenger Vehicles
The primary reasons that speeding trucks are so dangerous has to do with the fact that trucks already require more time to stop than do passenger vehicles, even when traveling at a legal speed. A passenger vehicle (containing the average passenger vehicle weight of 4,000 pounds) traveling at 65 miles per hour under ideal conditions requires approximately 315 feet to completely stop, which is nearly the distance of a football field. A large truck that weighs an average of 80,000 pounds, on the other hand, also traveling in ideal conditions at 65 miles per hour, will require approximately 525 feet to stop, nearly the length of two football fields.
How Does Speed Affect This?
Stopping distance is a major factor that contributes to both the occurrence of an accident and the severity of an accident. Because a truck needs more distance to come to a complete stop, there is a greater risk of accident with another vehicle that is traveling in front of the truck.
Speed exacerbates this reality; the faster that a large truck is going, the more distance that is required for the vehicle to come to a complete stop. This means that a speeding truck driver may apply the brakes when they see another vehicle or object in the road ahead, but there may not be enough distance to come to a complete stop before catastrophe strikes.
Not only does traveling faster mean that it takes more time to stop, but speed is also directly related to force.
Speeding and Force: Speeding Drivers Cause More Catastrophic Accidents
The faster that a vehicle is traveling at the time it makes impact with another object, the more force that is involved in the accident, and therefore the harder the impact. Even small, seemingly negligible increases in speed could have very serious consequences. For example, a car that is traveling just over 37 miles per hour is twice as likely to be involved in a casualty crash as is a vehicle traveling at just over 40 miles per hour. If the speed increases to just over 43 miles per hour, the risk is fourfold. And because force also increases with mass (force is equal to mass multiplied by acceleration), a large truck is inherently a greater danger on the road, especially when speeding.
Large Trucks Are More Difficult to Control
In addition to requiring a greater stopping distance and having a greater force than passenger cars when in motion, large trucks are also more difficult to control. When speeding, this difficulty is exacerbated, and attempting to avoid an object or an accident may result in the truck tipping over, a ‘jackknife’ accident, or a roll-away truck situation, amongst other serious hazards.
Speeding Takes Lives
Ultimately, it is important to remember that whether discussing passenger cars or large trucks, speeding takes lives. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that in a single year, speeding-related accidents accounted for more than 25 percent of traffic-related fatalities. The Truck Safety Coalition reports that on average, more than 1,000 lives are lost per year due to accidents caused by speeding commercial vehicles.
Call Straw Law Firm If You’re in a Truck Accident in Virginia
If you or a loved one was involved in an accident caused by a speeding or otherwise negligent truck driver, contact the experienced Virginia personal injury attorneys at the Straw Law Firm for a free consultation about your legal options and how to maximize your settlement amount. We are reachable by phone at (434) 616-2760 or online. You may also stop by our office in person at your convenience.