The drivers of trucks and smaller passenger vehicles must share the road regardless of whether vehicles are traveling on a freeway, toll road, local street, or rural route. Depending on the type of roadway and other circumstances present truckers, commuters, and other motorists will deal with different challenges. For instance, drivers and operators may need to cope with stop and go traffic at a busy traffic signal in town. Furthermore, weather conditions can further complicate things for all drivers.
While people often consider the roadway itself when assessing accident or collision risk, there are certain parts of the road that can fly under the radar. For one, people often fail to consider how their vehicle may handle highway on-ramps and highway off-ramps. If you have been injured in a trucking accident on a highway entrance ramp or a highway exit ramp, the lawyers of Reiff & Bily’s The Truck Accident Team may be able to help.
Why Can Trucks Cause Accidents on Highway Entrance Ramps and in Acceleration Lanes?
All vehicles on the highway must enter onto the roadway through an on-ramp. While the exact configurations of ramps can change, truckers entering onto highways with fast-moving traffic face many of the same challenges and risks that can lead to an accident regardless of the exact location of the ramp.
For one, trucks are large, heavy vehicles. Due to their size and weight, they take an extremely long time to get up to highway speeds. When a highway is designed such that an entrance and exit ramp overlap and accelerating vehicles must watch for deaccelerating vehicles exiting the roadway, the risk of an accident involving a large truck increases significantly. The risk here is two-fold. First, the truck driver could need to brake unexpectedly due to traffic exiting the road up ahead. The potential need to brake must be balanced against the need to get up to highway speeds and merge into traffic.
Even after the truck driver has merged into traffic, he or she may be required by state law to stay in the right lane. This means the truck driver will continue to need to contend with merging traffic that may engage in unexpected behaviors. All of these factors reduce the margin for error and increase the risk of a crash on a highway on-ramp.
Why Do Trucks Cause Crashes on Highway Exit Ramps?
While merging into the lane to for a highway exit ramp involves many of the same risks involved in getting onto the highway, there are also unique risks. One of the trucking risks unique to highway exit ramps comes down to the nature of these roadways. That is, the design of freeway offramps often range from a gradual to a sharp curve.
The potential problem here is that, once again, trucks are large, heavy vehicles. Their size and weight mean that it can take a long time for the truck to slow down. The vehicle’s size and weight also often mean that it is significantly less maneuverable. On a highway exit ramp, there exists a significant risk that a trucker could enter the ramp traveling at too high of a rate of speed. Due to the height and size of the truck, it is significantly more likely to jackknife or rollover.
When a truck overturns, there is a risk to all traffic in its vicinity. Vehicles in adjacent lanes may be crushed by the truck. Vehicles following the truck may be unable to avoid the truck as it destabilizes and crashes to the pavement. Even vehicles ahead of the truck can be impacted depending on how the truck jackknifes or overturns.
Why Are Truck Accidents So Serious?
Truck accidents often produce extremely serious or fatal injuries. Part of the reason for the severity of injuries is based on the high rate at which cars, trucks, and buses travel. However, the other component that causes the severe injuries that truck accidents are known for is the mass of the vehicle. Essentially an elementary notion of the force that is involved in an accident can be computed by multiplying the mass of the vehicle times the speed of travel. This equation gives the force involved in units of Newtons. Of course, this is an extremely simplified approach and vectors of force and other factors must be accounted for. However, it does give an idea regarding the intense, violent forces that act on vehicles and their occupants in a truck accident.
Truck Accident Lawyers Handle Highway On and Off Ramp Truck Accidents
If you have suffered a serious accident due to a negligent truck driver who failed to appropriately navigate a highway on-ramp or exit, the lawyers of Reiff & Bily’s The Truck Accident Team may be able to help. We are truck accident lawyers who work with local counsel throughout the country. To discuss whether our services are right for your situation, please call our legal team at 800-896-6173.