Q: How does a speeding truck put me at risk?
When a truck driver chooses to speed, he is putting everyone else on the road at risk. Trucks can be twenty to thirty times heavier than passenger vehicles, and these extreme size differences mean that truck collisions are frequently catastrophic.
Dangers of Speeding Trucks
Large trucks traveling at high speeds are dangerous for several reasons:
- Momentum. When a truck is traveling at highway speeds, it builds up a tremendous amount of momentum. A fully-loaded tractor trailer can take between twenty to forty percent longer to stop than a passenger vehicle. Trucks are built for size rather than maneuverability, so truck drivers must therefore speed up, slow down, and turn far more deliberately than passenger vehicle drivers.
- Rollovers. Semi-trucks are particularly prone to rollovers due to a high center of gravity, and speeding is the number one cause of these accidents. Rollovers generally happen when a truck travels around a curve too quickly, and centrifugal forces cause the vehicle to lean away from the direction of the curve. When the truck tips over, it can easily strike or even crush other vehicles. The best way to avoid rollovers is to obey speed limits.
- Jackknifes. When a truck jackknifes, the trailer swings out, folds, and stops at a ninety-degree angle from the truck, resembling a folding pocket knife. Locking the truck’s trailer brakes is the primary cause of jackknifes. This happens when a speeding truck driver is forced to brake quickly to avoid another vehicle or debris on the road. Due to the excessive speed, the truck’s brakes are incapable of stopping the heavy trailer. Consequently, the trailer’s wheels lock and it swings outward, potentially colliding with nearby vehicles. As with rollovers, truck drivers can avoid jackknife accidents by adhering to posted speed limits.
Collisions Caused by Speeding Trucks
If you see a speeding truck, slow down and do everything you can to avoid it. If you’ve been hurt in a collision with a big rig, you need professional representation by an experienced attorney. To discuss your claim, contact the law offices of Steve M. Lee, P.C., by using the form on this page.