Stephen Hasner | Truck Accidents | April 12, 2022
If you’re driving a car, a collision with a semi-truck can be a nightmare. Semi-trucks are significantly larger than the average vehicle. Colliding with a semi-truck is much more hazardous than getting hit by another car.
Even though you likely encounter semi-trucks regularly when driving, you might not know much about them. Semi-trucks are a unique class of vehicles and have particular requirements to operate properly. If any aspect of a semi-truck is out of balance, it can be a danger to others on the road.
1. Semi-Trucks Go By Many Names
A semi-truck is a vehicle that can tow a semi-trailer loaded with cargo. The vehicle has its own engine, and a semi-trailer can be hitched to the truck. A semi-trailer can not drive on its own. It must be attached to a truck with an engine.
Semi-trucks have several different names. They can be called 18-wheelers or big rigs. Semi-trucks are also known as tractor-trailers or semi-tractor trailers.
Legally, semi-trucks are considered commercial vehicles. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, a commercial vehicle is any vehicle “used on the highways in interstate commerce to transport passengers or property.” To be considered a commercial vehicle, a vehicle must also have specific weight requirements.
2. Driving a Semi-Truck Is Difficult
Semi-trucks require a special kind of driver’s license for a reason. Usually, before being permitted to drive a semi-truck, a driver will have to take special classes and pass several tests. Driving such a massive vehicle is a big responsibility, and semi-truck drivers must be extremely cautious.
The larger size and weight of semi-trucks make them more challenging to maneuver. Semi-trucks also have different mechanics, including unique brakes, making them trickier to operate.
3. Semi-Truck Drivers Have Significant Mileage Demands
In addition to ensuring their truck is safe to drive, semi-truck drivers are also required to drive long distances. As long as semi-truck drivers follow the law and go the correct speed limit, they will often drive over 600 miles a day. Traveling so many miles can be taxing on semi-truck drivers and the vehicle itself.
Even though there are mandated breaks, semi-truck drivers are still expected to travel major distances. Driving so many miles can exhaust a semi-truck driver and impact their driving ability. Operating a vehicle while you’re tired can be risky in any situation, but the size of a semi-truck makes it even more unsafe.
4. Semi-Trucks Require More Maintenance
Because semi-trucks log more miles than other vehicles, they need to be maintained more regularly. Semi-truck drivers must constantly inspect the vehicle’s brakes, which can experience more wear due to the loads that semi-trucks carry.
While a car may be able to avoid a car crash even if the vehicle hasn’t been properly maintained, any minor mechanical problem on a semi-truck could be a recipe for disaster. A semi truck’s cargo has to be specifically arranged on the trailer to avoid creating any problems for the driver.
Avoiding Semi-Truck Accidents
Even though the size of semi-trucks makes them more dangerous to other drivers, Georgia has laws in place to minimize semi-truck accidents. Georgia defines any vehicle with more than six wheels as a truck, excluding buses. Semi-trucks fall into this category.
In Georgia, a semi-truck is usually not allowed to drive in the left lane for safety reasons. If three or more lanes of traffic move in the same direction, a semi-truck cannot be in the left lane. On a roadway with two lanes moving in the same direction, semi-trucks may only use the left lane to pass other vehicles.
Restricting semi-trucks to the right-most lanes helps aid traffic flow and reduces semi-truck accidents. Drivers can also better avoid semi-truck crashes by being aware of semi-trucks on the road and understanding the unique risks they pose.
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