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Dangers caused by large trucks

Driving can be a nerve-wracking experience sometimes. Consider the following scenario:

As you're tooling down the Georgia highway, you glance into your rear view mirror and see a large truck barreling down on your bumper. Will he be able to brake in time? Is he even paying attention?

According to statistics from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, nearly 10 percent of highway fatalities happen in collisions that involve big rigs, and those most likely to die are the occupants of passenger vehicles.

While tragic, this certainly is logical, as a fully-loaded semi can weigh up to 30 times the weight of a smaller car or light truck. Big rigs also ride higher and have more ground clearance than smaller vehicles. This creates an underride danger which is often lethal to drivers and passengers when cars slide under the bumpers of truck trailers.

Sometimes, danger comes in the form of braking capabilities. Large trucks cannot stop on a dime, requiring much longer stopping distances. Add a little sleet, snow and ice to the mix, and you have a deadly cocktail of an accident waiting to happen on the highways. Trucking companies also must be meticulous about maintaining the brakes on their fleet in order to reduce the likelihood of accidents.

A final danger affecting highway safety is truck driver fatigue. The federal hours-of-service regulations state that drivers of big rigs can drive for up to 11 hours without a break. But many drivers are urged by their companies to drive longer hours to meet tight deadlines. Sleepy drivers are a definite safety hazard to all on the road with them.

If you suffer injuries from a collision involving a large truck, you should know that you have options to pursue compensation from the at-fault party or parties.

Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, "Large Trucks," accessed Jan. 28, 2016

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