America is a nation that relies on semi-trucks. With more than 2 million big trucks on our nation’s roads, the trucking industry is responsible for moving more than 70 percent of American freight. This translates into a $700 billion industry with no signs of slowing down.

While we are all grateful to have produce, household goods, and other items available to us at all times and for a reasonable price, semi-trucks do pose an increased danger on the road. Semi-trucks weigh anywhere from 20-30 times as much as the average passenger vehicle and they take up to 40 percent longer to brake. 

The sheer size and weight of semi-trucks mean that when a big truck gets in an accident, fatalities are a real possibility. As recently as 2018, 4,136 people died in accidents involving semi-trucks. 

If like most Americans you routinely share the road with these indispensable yet inherently dangerous rigs, it is important you know more about semi-trucks.

Semi-Trucks Weigh Tens of Thousands of Pounds

For starters consider just how much a semi-truck weighs. When a semi-truck is empty, it can weigh as much as 25,000 pounds. In fact, semi-trucks are so big that their engines, which can weigh around 3,000 pounds, are heavier than some cars. 

Add to that the fact that semi-trucks rarely drive around empty. 

Semi-trucks are used to haul all kinds of goods, including:

  • Food
  • Livestock
  • Medical equipment
  • Consumer goods
  • Cars

Depending on the type of semi, a truck can legally haul anywhere from 20,000-34,000 pounds. When you add up the weight of the truck plus the freight it is hauling, a fully loaded semi-truck can legally weigh as much as 80,000 pounds.

When you have an 80,000 big rig going up against a 5,000-pound car, truck, or SUV, it is no contest. The semi-truck will win every time.

Why Semi-Truck Accidents Happen and How to Avoid Them

An accident involving a semi-truck can happen for many different reasons. If weather conditions are less than ideal it can increase the likelihood of an accident. Rain can reduce visibility while snow or ice can make roads slippery.

In addition to mother nature, human error can often lead to an accident. If a driver is distracted, either by their phone or for some other reason, the odds of a crash are greatly increased. This is true for semi-truck drivers and drivers of any vehicle.

Also, because of their massive weight, it takes semi-trucks much longer than cars to stop. If a car or truck is too close to a semi or is driving in a blind spot, an accident could happen.

The best ways to avoid getting in an accident with a semi-truck include:

  • Giving semi-trucks plenty of distance on the road
  • Avoiding a semi’s blind spot
  • Never driving while distracted
  • Never driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol

While you can never guarantee that you won’t get in an accident, following the above will keep your odds of getting in an accident lower.

What To Do if You Are in An Accident with a Semi-Truck 

Being in an accident of any kind can be traumatic. This is especially true when you are in an accident with a semi-truck. Because semi-trucks can be dangerous, drivers have strict rules and protocols they must follow. This includes how long they can drive each day and how much freight they can haul.

If it appears the driver wasn’t following the safety protocols they should have been, you could have a strong case against them and might be able to sue for damages. With the help of a skilled personal injury lawyer, you might be able to collect compensation for anything from medical bills to pain and suffering.