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The Physics of Accidents Involving Large Trucks

Accidents involving passenger vehicles and tractor trailers or other large commercial trucks often lead to catastrophic injury and even death. These accidents present exceptional dangers for drivers of passenger vehicles. While many car accidents do not result in serious injury to occupants, accidents involving commercial trucks nearly always do. In the U.S., a driver is injured or killed by a commercial vehicle every 16 minutes. Approximately 98% of all 18 wheeler accidents results in at least one fatality. Tragically, over 3,500 automobile passengers are killed in crashes involving tractor trailers and other large trucks.

Every vehicle on the roadway adheres to the basic laws of physics according to its mass and velocity, as well as interaction with the road surface. Our Miami truck accident lawyers know how the vast differences between large trucks and passenger vehicles have a significant impact on the dynamics of a traffic accident. To better understand the grave potential of tractor trailer accidents, you must first look at the physics of such accidents.

Incredible Mass: The Weight of Tractor Trailers Contributes to the Devastation of Accidents

Commercial vehicles have far more mass than cars. In fact, many semi-trucks weigh 30 times more than the average car. A commercial truck can weigh around 80,000 pounds, whereas the average passenger vehicle weighs at most 5,000 pounds. This tremendous difference in mass largely explains the devastating nature of most accidents involving tractor trailers and the like. Due to the difference in mass, a semi-truck traveling at the same highway speed as a car has far more energy and momentum. Accordingly, in an accident involving a car and a commercial truck, the car will incur far greater damages.

The weight of these massive vehicles further impacts their ability to stop in time to prevent an accident. Despite special braking equipment, tractor trailers still take 40% longer to stop than sedans and SUV’s. This delayed reaction time can have costly results for the occupants of motor vehicles caught in the path of a semi-truck.

Unbelievable Lengths: The Length of Tractor Trailers Makes Turns Difficult and Accidents More Likely

The average commercial truck is between 70 and 80 feet long, four times the average passenger vehicle. Turning such a lengthy truck is challenging. Truck drivers often have difficulty calculating whether roads are wide enough for them to turn.. Even further, tractor trailer drivers are plagued by blind spots in the front, back, and sides of the truck. If a truck driver switches lanes without viewing the passenger vehicle in their blind spot, deadly injury can befall. You may find it hard to believe if you’ve never been in a big rig’s cab, but visibility is limited as to things close to the front of a truck. For instance, we once had a case, where an elderly gentleman was crossing in the crosswalk in front a cab over tractor. The man bent down to pick up his hat when the light turned green for the truck. The driver moved forward crushing the gentleman. One would think that in such a case, where the truck has no hood, that visibility would be excellent. Once you got into the cab, it was obvious that the driver could not see anything witin about 5 feet of his grill. We resolved the case for a significant amount of money because we were able to show that the driver knew about the blind spot, saw the man crossing, but never made sure that the man was safely out of his way when he started up. Our experience with tractor-trailer cases played a huge role in our being successful in that case and in the many trucking cases we have handled over the yars.

Distractions Can Be Fatal

Given the tremendous mass and length of tractor trailers, even a moment of distraction can produce catastrophic results. Studies show that texting while driving a truck raises the risk of a crash by 23 times. Your licensed Florida truck accident attorney will investigate the facts of your case to uncover whether distraction played a role in the accident.

Greenberg Stone and Urbano: Aggressive Representation for the Victims of Tractor Trailer Accidents

If you or a loved one is injured in a truck accident, contact the preeminent law office of Greenberg Stone and Urbano today. For over 120 collective years, we have fought for the recovery of truck accident victims and their families. Our commitment to zealous representation has earned an “AV” rating from Martindale Hubbell, and it is why we have been asked to join Primerus, an international society of leading law firms. Moreover, the Miami Herald voted us as one of the top-rated South Florida law firm, and, we have earned the title of “Superlawyers,” designating us as being among the best lawyers in America. We want to put this dedication to work for you, so call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule an initial consultation.

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