Cars and large trucks handle differently, increasing crash risks

On Behalf of | Feb 9, 2024 | Truck Accidents |

Truck accidents often have devastating consequences, producing injuries and fatalities. Truck drivers should take care, but other motorists need to understand the handling differences between trucks and cars.

Both vehicles share the same roadways, but their size and weight disparities can lead to distinct challenges and consequences in the event of an accident.

Maneuvering challenges

Trucks, due to their size and weight, have slower acceleration and deceleration rates compared to cars. When driving a truck, it takes more time and distance to come to a complete stop. This difference can be especially problematic in situations that demand quick reactions, such as approaching sudden traffic jams or unexpected obstacles on the road.

A car traveling at 65 mph needs around 316 feet to stop. At the same speed, trucks require 525 feet. Those figures assume ideal conditions. Reaction time delays, poor road conditions or other factors can lengthen the necessary distances, increasing accident risks.

Additionally, the size of a truck affects its ability to make sharp turns and navigate through tight spaces. This is why you might have noticed trucks taking wider turns, sometimes even crossing into multiple lanes, to make a simple maneuver.

The challenge of maneuvering large trucks safely requires drivers to be aware of their vehicle’s limitations and plan their actions accordingly. Do not assume that trucks handle like cars.

Impact on injury severity

The size and weight of a truck play a significant role in determining the severity of injuries. When a truck collides with a car, the car’s occupants are at a higher risk of sustaining more severe injuries. The reasons for this are twofold.

A typical truck can weigh at least 80,000 pounds, which is several times more than passenger cars. In a collision, this added mass imparts a greater force upon the car, resulting in more extensive damage and increased injury potential for car occupants.

Furthermore, trucks are taller than cars, which can lead to underride and override accidents. In such cases, the car may slide beneath the truck’s trailer, causing catastrophic injuries or fatalities due to the direct impact on the car’s passenger compartment.

Truck accident injuries often require extensive medical treatments and have significant long-term consequences.

Making the roads safer

Car drivers should exercise caution when sharing the road with trucks, allowing them extra space and avoiding sudden maneuvers around them. Truck drivers, on the other hand, must be acutely aware of their vehicle’s size and limitations, always striving to drive safely and responsibly.