The Risks of Sharing Nevada’s Highways with 18-Wheelers

18-wheeler image captured ominiously in the driver's side mirror

The 18-Wheeler is seemingly always a part of our everyday travels, whether along busy I-15 or any other highway in Nevada. And, the risks of sharing the road with these oversized-behemoths can often rattle our nerves – they might cut us off when least expected, drive too slow and hold up traffic or barrel down a steep grade. Tangle with one, and the damage may not only be to your car, your physical being, but also to your wallet, in the form of higher auto insurance premiums.

Trucking accidents involving semi-trucks, tractor-trailers, or 18-Wheelers can cause major property damage, often resulting in personal bodily injuries to motorists driving passenger vehicles.

For the record, among the startling data from a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) report:

• More than 4,000 people die each year from collisions with trucks, and an additional 80,000 are seriously to critically injured.
• While trucks make up less than 4 percent of all passenger vehicles driving on U.S. roads, they’re typically involved in 12 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities annually.
• The overwhelming majority of people killed in accidents with trucks are the drivers and passengers of the cars they hit.

As if that wasn’t enough, to compound the issue further, the American Association for Justice (AAJ) revealed in their study of safety performance that many trucking companies disregard safety laws, but also the minimum insurance requirements for commercial trucks are thoroughly inadequate to compensate individuals seriously injured in an accident.

Furthermore, in excess of 28,000 motor carriers have been found to violate federal safety regulations, placing U.S. motorists in potential harm’s way on the roads they share with trucks. Such violations as defective brakes, bald tires, loads dangerously exceeding weight limits, as well as drivers with little or no training, dependencies on drug and alcohol or suffering from sleep deprivation, are widespread.

When driving on a road that must be shared with 18-Wheelers, be aware of the possibility of the following types of truck accidents:
• Jackknifing: This is a common accident among truckers. When a truck jackknifes, the driver is usually powerless and rarely has time to react before it’s too late, thereby, sweeping anything in its wake out of the way. The damage to vehicles and their passengers can be extremely serious.
• Fuel Fires: When a truck catches fire on its own, the cause is generally the truck’s diesel fuel coming in contact with a battery spark. On the other hand, a collision, resulting in a fuel spill, followed by a spark, can also create a devastating outcome for both the driver of the rig and any cars in close proximity, involved in the accident.
• Rollovers – One of the major causes of fatalities and injuries in trucking rollover accidents can be due to many factors, including driver error (taking a curve too fast), speeding, fatigue, inexperience or DUI, truck malfunction, such as improper load distribution, low tire pressure, brake failure, and overall highway conditions.
• Braking: Often a cause of accidents, brake malfunction normally occurs on steep downgrades. More times than not, some truck drivers refuse to drop the truck’s transmission into a lower gear, relying almost entirely on the brakes while going downhill. The brakes of a large truck can only take so much heat and once they overheat…the chances of brake failure are greatly increased. If you encounter a runaway situation, do everything you can to let the truck by.

If you should have the misfortune of getting involved in an accident with an 18-Wheeler and you’re not at-fault, consult an attorney immediately. Being aware of the risks and hazards around you when sharing the road with 18-Wheelers can help keep you a lot safer. Always give them the room and respect they deserve… especially when you’re dealing with something that can weigh as much as 40 tons.

You never want to pay too much for your premiums. That’s why you should check that you’re getting the best rate on your auto insurance. Why not get a free auto insurance quote today?

Have you ever been involved in a serious accident with an 18-Wheeler? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.