Look at an 18-wheeler and a car for more than a second, and the immediate differences between the two classes of vehicles become readily apparent. However, there are not enough Alabama drivers who take the differences of these vehicles into account when driving.
The simple fact of the matter is that the size, weight and handling differences of these vehicles should radically alter the way drivers behave on Alabama roads.
Key Safety Differences Between Cars and Large Trucks
As you might expect, one of the key differences between large trucks and cars is their weight discrepancy. As a general rule, large tractor trailer 18-wheelers operate with a maximum allowed weight of 80,000 pounds. By contrast, the average car driving on Alabama roads weighs a mere 4,000 pounds in comparison.
The fact that an 18-wheeler operating at its maximum weight is 20 times heavier than the average car informs how cars and large trucks should interact with one another on the road.
Safety Precautions to Keep in Mind for Large Trucks and Cars
18-wheelers, due to their size and weight, are equipped with specialized brakes that help them slow their cargo. The air brakes used in 18-wheelers are more effective and powerful compared to the average hydraulic brake systems in cars, but these brakes are no miracle workers.
18-wheelers still require significantly more time and space to come to a stop than a car needs. A large truck that travels at 65 mph on an Alabama interstate will likely need 200 more feet to come to a stop when compared to an average car.
18-wheelers and large trucks also distribute their loads in a way that can make it more difficult for a truck to maneuver effectively at high speeds on the highway.
Cars, for their part, need to keep these differences in mind, giving large trucks the space they need to stop and maneuver effectively. This is particularly true since cars have greater visibility, meaning car drivers will have a better view of what’s happening on the road.
Cars have windows on all four sides of their vehicle, whereas trucks have blind spots on their sides, behind their side mirrors and behind the tractor trailer itself. Given all of these disadvantages, car drivers must remain vigilant and aware at all times on Alabama roads to prevent unnecessary accidents.
Alabama accident data drives home the importance of these safety precautions.
Alabama Accident Data
According to the University of Alabama’s Center for Advanced Public Safety, 18-wheeler accidents are 75% more likely to result in an Alabama fatality than an accident only involving cars.
In Baldwin and Escambia Counties, 12% of 18-wheeler truck accidents involve deadly rollovers, and an additional 11% of all accidents in those counties result in explosions.
Many Alabama accidents also occur because of driver fatigue, poorly lit areas of road, manufacturing defects and careless 18-wheeler drivers and ordinary drivers alike.
In short, many of the most deadly Alabama 18-wheeler accidents are avoidable. Whether you are an 18-wheeler driver or a regular driver, keep these safety precautions in mind to reduce the likelihood of yet another devastating Alabama 18-wheeler accident.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an 18-wheeler accident in Mobile, Baldwin or Escambia Counties, you may be entitled to legal compensation. Contact Noel B. Leonard or call 251-732-2701 for a legal consultation to discuss your case with an experienced Alabama accident attorney.