In New York, the economy depends on over-the-road freight drivers to transport goods from elsewhere in the country. However, the size and weight of these tractor trailers puts people in smaller vehicles at greater risk of fatalities in a collision. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s most recent statistics, only 251 truck occupants were killed in multivehicle crashes in 2014, while 2,857 smaller vehicle occupants were fatally injured in truck crashes.
Truck operators should be fully prepared for the responsibility of preventing accidents by the time they receive their commercial driver’s license. After all, as TruckingTruth.com points out, even a maneuver as simple as using the brakes can cause a fatal collision if it is not performed correctly. Drivers should avoid braking suddenly, particularly when the trailer is empty or lightly loaded. This action may cause the trailer wheels to lock, sending it into a skid and swinging it around to one side of the truck or the other, which is known as jackknifing. The best way to prevent this particular catastrophe is to allow plenty of space between the tractor trailer and the vehicle in front of it.
Tipping is another issue that can occur all too easily if a truck driver is negligent and makes a sudden movement such as a lane change. While a truck with a single, 45-foot trailer is the least likely of the combinations to turn over, doubles or triples have a much higher risk of rolling. Allowing one second of following distance for every 10 feet of the length of the tractor trailer should give an alert driver enough time to react to traffic situations without putting others in danger.