Tractor Trailer vs. Car in an Accident – Often a Bad Result
Trucks and tractor trailers are big, heavy vehicles. Cars are typically smaller, lighter vehicles. When they collide, it is most often bad news for the car, the driver and the passengers inside the car.
Trucks are everywhere on America’s roads, from 18-wheelers traveling cross country and tractor-trailers headed to the other side of the state to dump trucks working at local construction sites. Truck traffic is at an all-time high, with more than 15 million trucks, including 2 million tractor trailers, on the roads today.
As the number of trucks increases, the number of serious accidents involving between trucks and cars rises. Here is a look at what happens when trucks collide with cars, the causes of those accidents and what you need to do if you are involved in a collision with a truck.
By the Numbers
In 2015, more than 3800 people died in crashes involving large trucks and tractor trailers. Almost 70 percent of that number were in cars. Another 15 percent were pedestrians or on a motorcycle or bicycle.
Unfortunately, the situation isn’t getting much better. These numbers are more than 20 percent higher than in 2009. Though large commercial trucks and tractor trailers account for 1 in 10 total miles that are travelled in this country, the big trucks are involved in 1 in 8 of all fatal accidents.
Why So Many Accidents?
Sheer size accounts for many accidents. Trucks and tractor trailer rigs are large and can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. That’s about 16 times larger than a standard car. At that size, they are hard to maneuver around debris and obstacles in the road. To compare, at 55 mph, trucks take 525 feet to stop, while a car needs just 265 feet. Also, any type of cargo that was loaded improperly can shift, causing a truck to jackknife or turn over.
Just like car accidents, driver error is a major component in many collisions. If a truck driver fails to stop at a light or moves into another lane without checking properly, an accident is the likely result. If a car is stopped and the truck driver doesn’t see it in time, a rear-end collision could be the result and they often have devastating results.
There are many other causes of truck accidents related to the condition of the driver:
- Aggressive driving
- Fatigued driving
- Distracted driving
Truck drivers often face unrealistic schedules set by managers which can make them feel the need to take chances. Sleep less, multi-task while behind the wheel or drive faster than the speed limit in an attempt to arrive at their destination on time.
Some companies have poor track records for truck maintenance. This is especially dangerous when it involves brakes, tires and lights.
In some cases, car drivers contribute to the problem. They don’t give the truck enough time to make a safe left turn, causing an accident. A distracted driver can run his car into a stopped truck or run it under the trailer. An aggressive driver can cut a tractor trailer off while driving at a high rate of speed.
What To Do If You Are Involved in a Truck/Tractor Trailer – Car Accident
Any vehicle accident can be frightening. When it’s a truck/tractor trailer, the experience can be overwhelming. You first job is to get to safety, moving yourself and your passengers away from danger. If possible, move your vehicle out of the flow of traffic.
Moving out of danger is essential. But that doesn’t mean you can leave the scene of the accident. In fact, that is considered hit and run, and it’s illegal in Alabama. Remain close to where the accident happened until police arrive.
Call 911 to report the accident and arrange for an ambulance, if necessary. Even if it doesn’t seem serious, you need a police report to prove that the accident happened.
If possible, take photos of your car, the truck and the scene of the accident. Include shots of skid marks, debris, broken glass and traffic signs.
Say as little as possible to the other driver or passengers. Limit yourself to exchanging contact and insurance information. Don’t get into the blame game. Let your insurer and the lawyers worry about that.
Get contact information from any potential witnesses. You can ask them what they saw, but the important information at this point is how to get in touch with them.
Get medical care. This is obvious if you are bleeding or limping. But many problems are invisible and could be delayed, like concussions, whiplash and brain trauma. A physician can document your injuries, which will prove to be an important resource if the case goes to court.
Get expert help from an experienced Alabama personal injury lawyer, familiar with the special components of truck and tractor trailer accidents. they can help you navigate the legal and insurance pitfalls that stand between you and a fair settlement.
Choose Experience for Positive Results
At Cobb, Boyd, White & Cobb, Attorneys-at-Law, we have a history of helping drivers involved in truck and tractor trailer accidents. With over 70 years of combined experience, our firm has the practical know-how to represent you with insurers and in court.
To ensure a that your rights are protected and to put yourself into the best position to receive a fair settlement, call the skilled personal injury attorneys at Cobb, Boyd, White & Cobb today to schedule a consultation about your truck/tractor trailer accident. Contact us at (334) 677-1000 or contact us online.