It is almost impossible to avoid driving down I-70 or any number of backroads in West Virginia without coming across a tractor trailer. Without these essential transport vehicles, many goods would not get to their final destination.
However, with the rise in traffic on every road, the incident of collisions that occur with a semi-truck has risen. 2018 was the deadliest for drivers of cars and trucks with an estimated 9% increase in fatalities from the previous year. Catastrophic injuries occur most often when a tractor trailer is one party in a crash.
Motor vehicle drivers and occupants often suffer devastating injuries when they get into a crash with a semi. However, truck drivers may also not walk away from an incident without injury. Examples of catastrophic injuries include:
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injury
- Emotional issues
Keep in mind that any injury that creates a substantial change in the way a person lives is catastrophic. Therefore, this list can include many other types of injuries.
The rise in distracted driving is becoming more prominent throughout the country. While cellphone use is the most often cited reason for this, GPS, radios and even eating all fall under this category. When the driver of a vehicle, whether it is the semi or a car, is not paying attention, crashes occur more frequently.
Maintaining a semi in good working order may mean the difference in life or death. At times, a fuel-line leak or other malfunction may occur while the driver is in motion and is therefore undetectable until application. Tractor-trailers have brakes on all of the axles. Often times several of the brakes are in disrepair and that can cause lengthened distances for the truck to stop. Well-trained drivers will do what they can to avoid a collision, but sometimes it is unavoidable. Motor vehicle operators also need to remember that it takes a longer time for these big rigs to stop compared to cars even when their brakes are in good working condition. Cutting in front of one and slamming on the brakes may mean putting yourself in danger.
Sharing the road with tractor trailers is a way of life. Understanding a couple of the ways incidents occur is essential, so you do not become part of 2019's crash statistics.