Automotive safety technology has advanced immensely over the past half century. Today, people are walking away from more and more collisions than ever before. That’s an important development even for those drivers who are not involved in auto accidents, because fewer injuries and deaths mean lower auto insurance rates for everyone.
But despite all of the recent safety improvements, there is one scenario that continues to be dangerous and often deadly: when a tractor-trailer or other large truck collides with a compact car. After all, there’s nothing that engineers can do about simple physics. When one object impacts a second object which has a much smaller mass, the second object will absorb the brunt of the force. And the results are all too often disastrous:
“Is it really a good idea for small cars and huge trucks to share the same stretch of roadway?”
There are places in the world where truck traffic is substantially restricted. In Beijing, China, trucks are banned from many busy thoroughfares during daylight hours. In the U.S. and elsewhere, some roads were built so long ago that they cannot accommodate heavy or tall trucks; so only passenger cars are now permitted to use them. It is quite common to see individual lanes on highways and freeways where trucks are prohibited; but the purposes of such lanes are more about traffic flow and less about safety.
But on a wide scale, it is extremely impractical to force large trucks to use different roadways than passenger cars. The most obvious reason is because it would necessitate the construction of more roads, which would be both costly and unfeasible in most places around the world. And since trucks are relied upon to transport goods and large items over great distances, the bitter truth is that trucks are entrenched in our society — and will be for the foreseeable future.
Protecting Yourself From Tractor-Trailers
There are several strategies that car drivers can adopt in order to minimize the risk of being involved in a collision with a large truck. They include:
- Avoiding cutting in front of trucks on thoroughfares
- Avoiding driving right next to them
- Being acutely aware of a truck’s blind spots; if you cannot see its mirrors, than its driver cannot see your car.
- Giving trucks extra room at intersections and on curvy roads
Much like motorists must share the road with pedestrians and bicyclists and be cognizant of their safety, drivers of small cars must also share the road with hefty trucks – but remain aware of their own safety.