Commercial vehicle accidents vs. passenger car accidents

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.