Semitruck crashes are some of the most dangerous. In many cases, those crashes are caused by issues with the trucks' cargo loads or because of dangerous driving practices.
An average semitruck weighs around 35,000 pounds, though they can weigh up to 80,000 pounds when fully loaded in the United States. Even without a trailer attached, a semi still weighs between 10,000 and 25,000 pounds.
Comparatively, the average car weighs around 2,871 pounds, and the average passenger truck weighs around 6,000 pounds.
This discrepancy is what makes crashes between semis and other vehicles so dangerous. The larger the load the truck carries, the more likely it is to weigh down the vehicle and be more hazardous in a collision.
What are the heaviest types of trucks?
If you want to decide which truck is heaviest based on looks, then turn to Freightliners, Peterbuilts, Kenworths and other big rigs, dump trucks and cement trucks. These vehicles weigh over 33,001 pounds as standard, so you will be able to identify that they are of a greater threat to you and your passengers.
How many people are hurt or killed in large-truck crashes?
In the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's latest release from 2019, it stated that there were 4,761 people who were killed in crashes involving large trucks in 2017. In 72% of those cases, the people involved were in other vehicles, not the semi.
That doesn't mean that the occupants of large trucks can't be hurt. While they are in a larger vehicle, around 18% of the fatalities were passengers in the large trucks.
What can you do to stay safer around semitrucks and heavy vehicles?
Knowing the risks is vital to helping you stay safe around these large vehicles. If you're traveling on a highway with a semitruck behind you, remember to slow down over time to give the driver time to react. If you'll merge in front of a semi, make sure there is plenty of space in case you need to stop. When traveling next to a large truck, try to stay in a visible space where you can see the driver's mirrors.
Taking these steps may help you prevent a crash that would otherwise lead to serious injuries or deaths.