While some roadway accidents involving more than one vehicle can result in serious injuries for drivers and passengers alike, few are as destructive as those that include large trucks. The National Safety Council reports that such accidents ended the lives of nearly 5,000 people in 2020, and caused nearly 10% of fatal crashes for that year.
While such crashes may occur due to individual factors, such as driver fatigue, the incidents often include some common factors that cause injury and fatalities for the occupants of smaller vehicles.
Large truck accidents tend to happen more often in rural areas, and this may happen for a variety of reasons, including increased driver speed, a lack of intersection stoplights and decreased driver attention. The lack of stop-and-go driving in such areas may cause reduced driving focus, which may lead to an increase in crashes in such locations.
The type of road large trucks travel upon affects the number of crash incidents. Crashes occur much more often on non-interstate roads compared to those that occur on major highways, and this could have several causes, including:
- Increased speed/traffic flow
- A lack of safety signage
- Reduced police presence
Nearly three-quarters of all large truck accidents take place on non-interstate roadways, making them the most dangerous for occupants and drivers of small vehicles who share them with big rigs and tractor-trailers.
Time of day
Crashes involving large trucks take place mostly in the daytime, likely during commuting hours in the morning and afternoon, when traffic is usually at its heaviest. Crash incidents during daylight hours far outpace those that occur after sunset.
Weather conditions and driver fatigue may also play a part in big rig crashes that cause injury or death. Drivers of smaller vehicles may want to remain aware of these common factors while sharing the road with large trucks.