Accidents between passenger vehicles occur every day, and oftentimes everyone drives or walks away relatively unhurt. However, the same is not true for accidents between a passenger vehicle and a commercial vehicle, also known as a semi.

In 2015, there were over 4,500 fatalities resulting from commercial vehicle/ passenger car accidents. It is because of this that knowing how different a commercial vehicle accident is from a regular accident, and how to avoid one, is so important.

One main difference

The biggest difference between a commercial vehicle accident and a typical passenger car accident is the damage and injury that can result from a crash. The fatality rate for a commercial vehicle accident is a lot higher due to these reasons:

  • Weight and size: Commercial vehicles can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. Compared to a normal passenger car that weighs 3,000 or 4,000 pounds, a crash at any speed can have devastating results.
  • Stopping time: Because of their size and weight, it takes a long time for commercial vehicles to come to a stop. For example, if a car cuts a commercial vehicle off, the larger vehicle may not be able to slow down in time before hitting the smaller one.
  • Stopping distance: This goes hand-in-hand with stopping time. Due to the amount of time it takes for commercial vehicles to stop, it will also take a lot of ground for them to come to a safe stop.

Avoiding a commercial vehicle accident

Not every accident is avoidable, but there are some proactive steps you can take to reduce the chances of an accident.

  • Stay out of blind spots: Commercial vehicles have four blind spots, one on each side of the vehicle. If you cannot see the driver, the driver can likely not see you.
  • Give them room: If you can, give these vehicles space. Similarly, do not cut them off or tailgate them, as this can increase the chances of a crash.
  • Pass with care: You never know if a commercial vehicle driver can see you, so it is important to stay alert when passing one.

The possibility of a commercial vehicle accident can be scary, which is why it is important to know how to avoid one.