Semi. Big rig. Eighteen-wheeler. They go by many names, but if you've ever driven alongside one of them on the highway, the overwhelming size of these massive vehicles can be enough to make you want to speed up, change lanes and never look back. In fact, if you're one of the many who has a fear of semi-trucks, you're not alone. Semiochophobia, the fear of semi-trucks, can cause drivers or passengers to have intense feelings of terror, panic and anxiety whenever they see or are near a semi-truck on the road. As accident attorneys who have seen their fair share of truck accident victims, there's good reason to want to move over when a semi creeps up alongside you.
One of the biggest problems that drivers of big rigs face are blind spots. Though many drivers may assume that the larger mirrors on the fronts of these trucks and the taller height of the truck can compensate for the longer body of the trailer, smaller passenger vehicles often disappear from a truck driver's view in “no zones,” large blind spots around the sides, front and back of the truck.
Unlike standard four-wheel passenger vehicles or motorcycles, turns in a big rig are wider and much more complicated. When a trucker needs to make a right turn, they must swing out to the left to allow for the greater turning radius. When a left turn is made, that requires the truck to swing more to the right. Collisions between cars and semis occur most often when a car tries to outrun the turning truck, the trucker fails to yield the right of way to another vehicle or the truck driver does not appropriately gauge the distance needed to complete the turn, potentially causing a jackknife situation.
The average eighteen-wheeler can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. Assuming ideal weather and road conditions, a braking semi-truck traveling 65 miles per hour, will travel the distance of two football fields, or 525 feet, before coming to a complete stop. Breaking in a big rig requires greater attention, perception and space to stop safely. When a car short stops or cuts in front of a large truck, catastrophic, potentially fatal, rear-end accidents are more than likely to occur.
Injuries from Semi-Truck Accidents
Injuries resulting from semi-truck accidents can be overwhelmingly devastating. The rate of speed, angle and degree of impact a semi makes with a passenger vehicle play a role in the severity of injury.
The most frequently reported injuries to drivers and passengers involved in semi-truck accidents include:
- Head and neck injuries (brain injuries, whiplash, etc.)
- Back injuries (spinal cord injuries, herniated discs, etc.)
- Internal injuries and bleeding
- Broken/fractured bones
Safety Tips for Driving Next to Semi-trucks
- Allow yourself plenty of room when traveling behind a semi-truck or changing lanes in front of a semi.
- Signal your intentions when changing or merging into a lane with a semi-truck.
- Avoid “no zones”.
- Do not try to outrun or maneuver around a truck making a turn.
Keep Calm and Contact a Truck Accident Attorney
Recovery and rehabilitation following a semi-truck accident can be a long, painful and arduous process. Should you or a loved one be the victim of such an accident, the truck accident attorneys at Schiller, Kessler & Gomez will work diligently on your behalf to obtain the maximum compensation you deserve for medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering. Contact our offices today to speak to an attorney for a free truck accident case evaluation at (800) 350-FIRM.