Frequently Asked Questions - Why are rear end Collisions more Dangerous when caused by a Truck?
Rear end accidents are dangerous but if you are rear ended by a truck, the impact can be so much worse. Trucks in general are much larger than the average vehicle so it’s a no brainer that the larger the vehicle, the worse the damage. Most 18-wheeler semi trucks weigh over 80,000 pounds. When compared to the average vehicle weighing approximately 4,000 pounds, you can see why a truck accident is much more dangerous than a regular vehicle accident. Semi trucks also need significant more time and space to stop. It takes the average semi truck about two football field lengths to slow down if they are driving the speed limit. If you are rear ended by a semi truck going about 30 miles per hour, chances are that your vehicle will be totaled. Due to the heave weight of the semi truck, most truck rear end accidents also cause a chain reaction, pushing each vehicle into the vehicle in front of them. Normally this does not happen with regular sized vehicles but semi trucks are extremely big and powerful.
Most drivers of large semi trucks work long hours and drive thousands of miles all across the country in a very short time period. They have a deadline and must deliver their haul timely. This causes the drivers to stay awake for more time than the average human being is used to. Trucks and their drivers are pushed to their limits. Trucking companies require their drivers to be able to deliver more and more goods further and further away and actually double the amount of stock the vehicle is designed to hold. Currently, truck drivers drive approximately 80 hours a week, that’s double that of the average worker. More pressure is put on drivers who aren’t able to deliver their load on time, causing them to get less and less sleep each week in order to meet their employers goals. Drowsiness and driving are not a good combination. If you don’t get as much rest as you should, your body begins to break down and can cause body aches, lack of cognitive function and delayed reaction to name a few. Sleep apnea is another concern for truck drivers. Especially overweight drivers. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration states proposed that all overweight truck drivers be examined for sleep apnea as they found this was one of the most significant causes of night time truck accidents. If you are driving and are sleep deprived, you are more likely to cause an accident or not be able to react quick enough to prevent one. Many semi trucks come with a sleeping compartment, but the driver still must make it to their destination on time and therefore; only has a limited time to sleep. When semi truck drivers are sleep deprived, they are likely to doze off and swerve their vehicle, causing significant damage to vehicles around them.
According to the Florida Highway Patrol, more rear end semi truck accidents happen at night than any other time of day. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, night time truck accidents, specifically rear-end accidents, have risen in the last decade. These types of accident happen mainly on highways and rural areas. Most rural areas are extremely dark at night time and that coupled with sleep deprivation can be devastating if the truck hits a vehicle.
If you’re rear ended by a semi truck, chances are that you could be severely injured. If you are injured, you should always seek emergency medical treatment. Most people do not feel the extent of their injuries until the next day after they wake up in the morning. After being rear ended by a semi truck with a full load going the speed limit, most people suffer severe injuries such as brain damage, broken bones, spinal fractures and will end up with significant, permanent injuries. Seat belt marks have been shown in more truck accidents than regular car accidents. As the truck is so large and causes a significant impact, most people are left with seat belt burn marks on their upper body. These marks fade as time goes on but are still extremely painful. Head lacerations are also more common in semi truck accidents. Researchers determined this was due to the significant impacts when people hit their heads on their steering wheels. A large number of semi truck accidents are fatal. The semi truck is huge in comparison with a normal sized vehicle, even an SUV, and when you are struck by that type of force, you could hit your head on the steering wheel, be jostled around in your car or hit your arms and legs on the interior of the vehicle. In some instances, the impact was so severe that the driver of the vehicle that was rear ended was actually thrown through the windshield. Seatbelts don’t always save you. In many instances, people were wearing their seatbelts and the seatbelt actually snapped, causing the front seat drivers and passengers to hit their head on the dashboard, windshield or side windows. Rear end semi truck accidents also have a large impact on rear seat passengers and they tend to end up with severe spinal injuries.
In addition to your injuries and property damage, you then have to deal with the insurance company. Semi trucks accidents are tricky as there are sometimes several different insurance companies involved. The actual truck could be insured with one company while the trailer it’s pulling could be insured by another. This makes it difficult for the insurance companies to determine which insurance company is liable for the damages or which portion of the semi truck caused the accident. The driver themselves could also be covered under a separate insurance company which could come in to play. Semi truck accident claims take much longer to conclude than regular vehicle accidents due to this. Most insurance companies will fight over who will be the main responsible insurance company to pay for the damages or they may agree to split the damages.