All too often, it seems that people take for granted the potential hazards that are on the roads when people hop in their car and head out on the streets. Many hazards are obvious – a fallen tree across the road, inclement weather such as a flooded underpass, even a deer on the road could come as a surprise to a driver and lead to an accident, but none of these things are typically on the roads, so seeing them would naturally come as a surprise.
One often overlooked potential hazard on the roads are vehicles we share the roads with: trucks. Many Americans take trucks for granted. We pass them, or they pass us on the highway without second thought. But trucks, often carrying hazardous materials or very heavy payloads, are often at a severe disadvantage on the roads when it comes to avoiding an accident. And cars, much smaller and lighter than trucks, are at a severe disadvantage when involved in an accident with a truck.
The laws of physics and momentum tell us that an object in motion wants to stay in motion, unless an opposite force acts against it. This means that with all other road conditions considered equal, a truck with a heavy payload has a much more difficult time slowing, stopping or swerving to avoid an accident than a traditional car. It also means that if a truck accident occurs, the car, and its occupants, are likely to suffer far more serious consequences than the driver of an 18-wheeler truck.
It is important to be mindful of these simple facts when sharing the road with trucks. Truck drivers are human, and humans are not without flaws. Whether it is a negligent driver, a careless driver, a drunk driver, or simply a fatigued driver who is pushing the limits to reach a destination, truck accidents do occur, but if you are in a car and exercise caution when near trucks, you may be able to act swiftly when facing the potential of an accident and saving yourself.