According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, almost 5,000 large trucks and buses were involved in fatal crashes in the United States in 2017, representing a 9 percent increase over the previous year. A collision between a large, commercial vehicle and a passenger vehicle can have a variety of causes. However, large vehicles, like 18-wheelers and tour buses, often weigh much more than passenger vehicles do, which can affect the way the large vehicles operate.
A large vehicle’s stopping distance is one operating limitation caused by the added weight. For example, an 18-wheeler that is traveling at 65 miles per hour requires the distance of two football fields to come to a complete stop.
How does stopping distance contribute to collisions?
When something occurs that interferes with a large vehicle’s necessary stopping distance, it can be an unsafe situation for the occupants of the large vehicle as well as others on the road. This may occur if a driver cuts in front of a large vehicle, if a driver slams on the brakes in front of a large vehicle, if a truck or bus driver is following another car too closely or if the brakes in the large vehicle fail.
How can I avoid being in a crash with a large vehicle?
As a driver of a passenger vehicle, there are actions you can take to help prevent being involved in a dangerous collision with a large, commercial vehicle. Keep the following safe behaviors in mind when driving:
- Use caution when passing a large vehicle
- Allow extra space when merging in front of a large vehicle
- Merge to another lane if a large vehicle is following you too closely
- Try to avoid slamming on the brakes in front of a large vehicle
Although there are some actions you can take to help prevent some potential collisions with large vehicles, sometimes crashes are caused by the negligent actions of a bus or truck driver. If you are injured because of someone else’s negligent actions, you may be able to seek compensation for your medical expenses and other costs associated with your injury.