Tractor-trailers are also referred to as “18-wheelers,” “semi-trucks,” and “big rigs.” You will find tractor-trailers on just about every major highway and road in the United States. Tractor-trailer trucks are made to haul cargo; in fact, tractor-trailers transport about 75% of all cargo that is shipped. Tractor-trailers are extremely large and are legally allowed to haul up to 80,000 pounds, which is the same as 40 tons. For comparison, a standard passenger car typically weighs between 2,000 and 4,000 pounds.
TRACTOR-TRAILERS HAVE TROUBLE STOPPING
Because they weigh so much, when tractor-trailers are traveling highway speeds, they can take over 500 feet to come to a stop. An average car on highway speeds will take around 300 feet to stop:
TRACTOR-TRAILERS HAVE LARGE BLIND SPOTS
It is also challenging for tractor-trailer drivers to see other vehicles and objects. Tractor-trailers have large blind spots, often referred to as “no-zones,” on every side:
TRACTOR-TRAILERS ROLL OVER
Tractor-trailers have a high center of gravity, and therefore, are prone to roll over:
TRAILERS CAN BE DANGEROUS
Trailers can be dangerous to other drivers because they can swing wide and disconnect from the tractor. A jackknife is when a tractor’s trailer, which has the cargo in it, swings out wide to one side. It is called a jackknife because if you looked at the shape of the tractor and trailer from above, it would resemble a jackknife blade and handle:
The trailer can also disconnect from the tractor, causing a very dangerous situation to other drivers.
These dangers, coupled with the fact that many drivers become fatigued, because they are behind the wheel for long and continuous periods of time, make tractor-trailers very dangerous. Tractor-trailer and other commercial vehicles are different than passenger cars, and their respective accidents must be treated differently as well. If you have been hurt in a tractor-trailer wreck, you need a truck accident lawyer who knows about tractor-trailer accidents has successfully handled trucking cases like yours—contact Mike Rafi, your truck accident attorney, for a free consultation.