Tractor-trailer accidents tend to be catastrophic, whether they involve pedestrians, bicyclists, passenger cars, or other commercial vehicles. The sheer size increases the risk but there are other factors that contribute to it as well. Whatever the cause of these mishaps may be, they are associated with severe injury or even death of the victims. People who get involved or lose a loved one in these accidents need to be aware of their legal options for claiming compensation. It is also vital to understand the risk factors so that you are able to prove the liability of the driver or owner of the vehicle that has caused the accident. Here are the factors that make tractor-trailers prone to mishaps.
Size of the vehicle
The gigantic size of these vehicles is the fact that makes them the most dangerous. Surprisingly, a fully loaded tractor-trailer can be thousands of pounds in weight. They are tall as well and have a large amount of space underneath. An average car is just a fraction of its weight and can just slide beneath a truck after a crash. Also, the size of the vehicle makes it difficult to control, particularly when it comes to braking and maneuvering. Obviously, these factors put the occupants of passenger vehicles at a very high risk of injury or death.
Another reason that makes tractor-trailers accident-prone is their length. The extra-long vehicles have large blind spots everywhere, in front, on the sides, and behind as well. The peril of blind spots increases when there is a big rig because the driver may be unable to see the passenger vehicles in the vicinity. Even if the other drivers are careful enough, mishaps may still happen.
Lack of maintenance
The maintenance requirements of commercial vehicles including tractor-trailers are high because they travel thousands of miles. Even the smallest of malfunctions and issues with the brakes, steering, tires, and other parts increase the risk manifold. If a lack of maintenance is the cause of the mishap, you will require a seasoned tractor trailer accident lawyer to prove the liability of the company. Proving liability is vital to getting a compensation claim and this becomes all the more important in commercial vehicle accidents.
Although these vehicles are designed to carry massive cargo loads, things can get risky if it is not led or secured properly. If this happens, there are chances of an imbalance of the vehicle, which elevates the risk of jackknifing or overturning. Apart from overloading and faulty loading, accidents can also happen with commercial trucks that transport hazardous materials. Spilling and leakage can endanger the lives of victims and cause environmental hazards as well.
Apart from these mechanical and structural issues with larger vehicles, mishaps could also happen due to driver’s inexperience and negligence. Since these vehicles require specialized skills and experience to handle, commercial trucking companies need to go the extra mile while hiring and training the drivers. Also, it is their responsibility to comply with federal standards and safety norms.