Commercial trucks are big for an obvious reason. Their size reflects the economy of scale for modern surface shipping. The more that they can haul at once, the less shipping costs for a company will be. Large trailers are more efficient than using smaller vehicles closer to the size of passenger vehicles to transport merchandise materials and equipment.
Big commercial trucks can deliver an entire week’s worth of produce to a restaurant or a season’s worth of merchandise. Their design focuses on efficiency for shipping, rather than on safety and ease of driving. Unfortunately, the size of commercial trucks plays a direct role in how dangerous they are for others in traffic.
The bigger the vehicle, the harder it is to see around
Commercial trucks with a single trailer are longer than multiple passenger vehicles put together. Many commercial trucks have extra mirrors added to the cab that protrude out to the side and have multiple reflective surfaces pointed in various angles.
The goal of such extra mirrors is to make it easier for the commercial driver to spot other vehicles in their large blind spots. However, even with those big mirrors, a truck driver could turn or merge without seeing someone else nearby, possibly leading to a severe collision.
The size of commercial trucks makes them harder to control
The height, length and weight of commercial trucks mean they take longer to speed up and slow down. The way that the cab attaches to the trailer also means that they make wide turns and can sometimes do unpredictable things, like jackknifing in traffic.
Commercial drivers have extra training and are subject to stricter driving rules than others, but no amount of training can change the physical effects of a truck’s size. Even if the commercial driver slams on their brakes when someone emerges right in front of them, it will take substantially longer for the vehicle to come to a stop than a passenger vehicle would take in the same situation.
Those driving close to commercial trucks can help protect themselves by giving the big trucks plenty of space and by familiarizing themselves with the limitations of commercial vehicles. The more you understand about big trucks and the crashes they cause, the better your chances of avoiding a commercial truck collision.