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Can a passenger vehicle survive an 18-wheeler head-on collision?

On Behalf of | May 14, 2024 | 18-Wheeler-Accidents

Naturally, sharing the road with 18-wheeler trucks can be intimidating for drivers of passenger vehicles. A unique concern is head-on collisions. Motorists may wonder if their passenger vehicles can survive such an impact.

The answer, unfortunately, is complex. There’s no simple yes or no. The likelihood of surviving a head-on collision with an 18-wheeler depends on several factors.

Factors that determine passenger vehicle damage

Of course, the faster the vehicles are traveling at impact, the greater the force of the collision. However, even at moderate speeds, a head-on crash with an 18-wheeler can be catastrophic for the occupants of a passenger car due to the immense weight difference. Since the passenger vehicle is the lighter object, it will take the brunt of the force.

Modern cars come equipped with a multitude of safety features intended to help protect occupants in a crash. These include:

  • Airbags
  • Crumple zones that absorb impact energy
  • High-strength steel cages surrounding the passenger compartment

While these advancements can significantly improve survivability, they are no match for the raw power of a head-on collision with an 18-wheeler.

Luckily, a perfectly aligned head-on collision is less common than an angled impact. While extremely dangerous, angled impacts can sometimes deflect some force. This can potentially lessen the severity of injuries for car occupants.

It’s crucial to remember that passenger cars are at risk of becoming lodged underneath a truck during a head-on collision. This “underride” scenario can expose car occupants to a crushing impact and potential fire from the truck’s engine.

What passenger vehicle drivers can you do to stay safe

Passenger vehicle drivers should always practice defensive driving techniques. This can include:

  • Increasing following distances
  • Avoiding distractions
  • Being aware of their surroundings, especially near large trucks

Motorists should also remember that trucks have large blind spots. Therefore, they should never attempt to pass a truck when they cannot see its front grill in their mirror.

While advancements in car safety offer some protection, a head-on collision with an 18-wheeler remains a highly dangerous situation. Passenger vehicle drivers can minimize the occurrence of such an accident by practicing safe driving habits and remaining vigilant on the road. With that said, if a collision occurs despite their best efforts, drivers who get involved in head-on collisions with 18-wheelers can pursue compensation for their injuries.