McKinney 18-Wheeler Truck Accident Lawyer
An 18-wheeler is a large commercial vehicle used to haul freight. Also known as a big rig, semi, or tractor trailer, 18-wheelers get their name because they have 18 wheels total. These vehicles also have multiple axles and other features designed to carry large loads. A fully loaded 18-wheeler can weigh up to 80,000 pounds in total.
18-wheelers play a vital role in the Texas economy. In McKinney and other cities, 18-wheelers transport valuable cargo including food, retail goods, and raw materials. Unfortunately, 18-wheelers also cause serious accidents. It’s estimated that 18-wheelers kill or injury one person every 15 minutes in the United States.
If you or someone you love is injured in an 18-wheeler accident, seek legal help right away. A truck accident lawyer can help you file a lawsuit and receive an accident settlement. You may be eligible for compensation from the truck driver’s employer as well.
You can use your 18-wheeler accident settlement to pay hospital bills, replace a damaged vehicle, and cover lost wages. An accident settlement will also help you get back on your feet after a truck accident. Call (214) 305-8277 now to get started. Our McKinney, TX law offices offer consultations that are always 100% free and confidential.
18-Wheeler Accident Dangers
Commercial truck drivers are usually safe and responsible. Before a driver can operate an 18-wheeler, they must undergo special training and pass a test to receive a commercial driver’s license. Unfortunately, despite the safety record of most commercial drivers, 18-wheelers are involved in thousands of accidents each year.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), large trucks like 18-wheelers are often lethal. In 2018 alone, 18-wheelers claimed the lives of over 4100 Americans. 67% of fatal truck accident victims were drivers or passengers in another car. Due to their vehicle’s size, truck drivers are usually protected from the worst injuries.
Several factors make 18-wheelers more dangerous than other motor vehicles:
Weight is one of the primary reasons why 18-wheelers can cause such severe accidents. When carrying a full cargo, an 18-wheeler can weigh 20-30 times more than a standard midsize car. In a collision, an 18-wheeler can deliver deadly force.
To understand how impact force is calculated in an accident, multiply a vehicle’s weight times its speed. Imagine an 18-wheeler that weighs 80,000 pounds traveling 50 mph. If this truck hits you, the force of the crash will be 4,000,000 Newtons (units of impact force).
Now consider a similar accident scenario involving an average sedan weighing only 3300 pounds. A 3,300-pound sedan traveling 50 mph delivers only 165,000 Newtons in a collision. This is significantly less dangerous than the 18-wheeler’s impact force.
Due to their extreme weight, 18-wheelers also have more overall momentum. If the 18-wheeler becomes imbalanced, it may tip over or jackknife. This can cause an accident when other cars must stop suddenly or swerve to avoid it.
Size and Blind Spots
The average 18-wheeler is 70 feet long, 14 feet tall, and 8 feet wide. As a result of this size, commercial truck drivers have huge blind spots. Often, many 18-wheeler accidents occur because the driver can’t see what’s around them.
When you see an 18-wheeler, be mindful of the “No Zones.” These are the areas where the driver cannot see:
- 20 feet directly in front of the cab
- 30 feet directly behind the trailer
- One lane to the driver’s left
- Two lanes to the driver’s right
Driving with large trucks requires extra caution. Always give 18-wheelers as much space as you can. If you need to pass an 18-wheeler on a Texas highway, look for a designated passing lane. If there’s no passing lane, wait until it’s safe — then pass on the left.
Don’t linger in blind spots. Remain in the passing lane until you can see the 18-wheeler’s headlights in your rearview mirror. This means there’s enough space to safely return to your original lane.
Remember, if you can’t see the driver, the driver can’t see you.
18-wheelers have a unique braking system called air brakes. Air brakes allow the driver to operate brake pads on the truck’s cargo trailer, which makes stopping much safer overall. However, air brakes have a built-in delay. From the moment a driver hits the brakes, it can take several seconds for the 18-wheeler to come to a complete stop.
Additionally, 18-wheelers need more stopping distance than cars. Depending on its speed, an 18-wheeler may require 300 feet or more to slow to a stop. In other words, an 18-wheeler can’t brake too quickly. If it does, the driver may lose control of their vehicle.
18-wheelers are not agile. Steering an 18-wheeler requires focus, discipline, and precision. Commercial drivers cannot swerve quickly or weave in and out traffic. If a driver needs to change lanes or turn, they must begin maneuvering in advance.
Unfortunately, these maneuvering difficulties can cause accidents. If a driver encounters a hazard on the road, they may not be able to avoid it. This can cause the 18-wheeler to slide off the road, jackknife, or roll over. It may crush another vehicle or cause a multi-car pile up when other drivers are forced to slam on their brakes.
An 18-wheeler is one of the most heavy-duty vehicles on the road. In addition to their cargo weight, these vehicles are driven thousands of miles every week. This takes a toll on the 18-wheeler’s engine and mechanical structure. As a result, trucking companies are required to perform regular maintenance and inspections.
If a trucking company skips on repairs, the driver may have an accident due to mechanical issues. They may experience brake failure, engine problems, or steering problems. When mechanical issues trigger an 18-wheeler accident, the truck driver’s employer may be the one at fault.
Know Your Rights in an 18-Wheeler Accident
If you’re in an accident involving an 18-wheeler, you have rights. Call (214) 305-8277 for a free consultation. If we take your case, you won’t pay for our legal services unless we help you win.