The large size of a semi-truck makes it much more difficult to handle than a smaller vehicle. Commercial drivers have to obtain special licenses to lawfully operate 18-wheelers and similar large commercial vehicles on public roads. They need extra training to maintain control over the trailer that they haul and to learn the skills necessary to maneuver the vehicle.
Unfortunately, even skilled commercial drivers can end up in crashes when road conditions make operating an 18-wheeler particularly difficult. When is the risk of a semi-truck driver losing control higher than usual?
1. Wet pavement
During rainstorms, the falling rain obscures a driver’s line of vision and makes the road surface wet. Even after the rain stops falling, the wet pavement will reduce the traction that vehicles have with the road. Reduced traction increases stopping distances and makes it more likely for vehicles to skid during turns or other major maneuvers. Wet road conditions could easily result in an 18-wheeler collision.
2. Low-visibility scenarios
Perhaps there is gloomy weather early in the day, with heavy fog that reduces visibility. Maybe it is inclement weather or a street without overhead lights that affects visibility.
Given how much longer it takes to turn or stop a commercial vehicle compared with a four-wheel passenger vehicle, those operating 18-wheelers need to see around their vehicle at all times. Visibility issues on the road might mean that commercial drivers don’t spot other vehicles nearby or don’t notice pedestrians or other obstacles ahead.
3. Heavy traffic
When there is a high density of motor vehicles on the road close to an 18-wheeler, the risk of a crash increases. Bumper-to-bumper traffic will mean that drivers cannot give 18-wheelers the space they demand for safety and will instead be far too close to the commercial truck. If the driver loses control or jackknives because of an unevenly loaded trailer, the vehicles close to the commercial truck will have a difficult time avoiding a crash.
Recognizing when the risk for certain kinds of 18-wheeler collisions is higher than usual can make it easier for drivers to make safety-conscious decisions in traffic. This knowledge can also prove useful in constructing a claim for compensation with the assistance of an experienced legal professional in the wake of an injurious crash.