Hasner Law | 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.
Contact the Atlanta Truck Accident Lawyers at Hasner Law PC For Help
We serve in Fulton County, Chatham County, and its surrounding areas: