A recent trucking accident in Columbia, Missouri showed just how dangerous the roads can be when tractor trailers are around. Four separate trucks were involved in the crash and it ended up shutting down the Interstate 70 westbound lanes for about three hours. While this could have been an inconvenience for anyone traveling via automobile, the simple fact that around 4,000 people die yearly in these accidents is enough to show that the roads aren’t nearly as safe as they used to be.
Why So Many Trucks?
There is an ever-increasing number of large trucks on American roads. In fact, many individuals who head out on road trips may find themselves completely surrounded by these gargantuan vehicles at times. When it comes down to it, it’s all about the dollars and cents. It’s just economically efficient for companies to ship their products via large trucks rather than by plane or ship. It’s a relatively inexpensive way to get large amounts of materials to every corner of the country.
It’s important to note, though, that the number of trucks on the road is expected to increase even more. With the economy recovering, consumers are expected to spend more and corporate investment is expected to increase. Both of these factors mean more materials to be shipped, and this always equates into more semi-truck drivers on U.S. highways.
The trucks that transport goods on our highways are federally regulated, and there are dozens of laws which govern these vehicles, the weights they carry, their safety features, as well as how many hours the drivers are allowed to be behind the wheel.
The Dangers of Semi-Trucks
For those deciding to travel, it’s important to understand just why America’s highways aren’t as safe as they once were, thanks to tractor trailers. Obviously the sheer size of these vehicles means that an accident involving one is more likely to be catastrophic. It’s this size that makes the number of deaths caused by tractor trailers highly disproportional to their numbers traveling our roads.
There are other factors, though, that come into play. When travelers are heading down the interstate on a soul-searching road trip, for instance, they’ve likely noticed that they cannot see much inside of the driver’s cab. Similarly, truckers are unable to see everything that’s around them – they literally have large blind spots that an entire vehicle could fit into.
Additionally, tractor trailers are much more difficult to maneuver, and they take longer to brake to a full stop. Both of these factors mean even the most adept and focused driver can become involved in an accident due to the nuances of controlling the momentum of so much weight. If a situation should occur in which you are involved in a large truck accident, you’ll want to be certain to choose a legal firm that is well versed in the statutes governing this industry.
Reconsidering Road Trips
Large truck accidents are not the most common accidents on the road, but they are amongst the most detrimental. This factor is causing more and more individuals to reconsider their travel plans, and in all honesty, it’s not a bad idea to rethink a trip that means long hours on the freeways. There are numerous methods to get across the state or across the country, and many are safer than driving on the roadways surrounded by large trucks.
Once you have reached your destination, it’s smart to avoid driving by yourself. Being in a new place adds a bit more risk since you will be unfamiliar with directions and local regulations. Using local transportation (from subways and monorails to rental bikes and taxis) is not only a great way to experience a new city and its people, but allows you to enjoy the sights without having to be on constant lookout for the correct turn, or a jaywalker.
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