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Can You Survive a Head-On Collision With an 18-Wheeler?

Due to the massive size of 18-wheeler trucks, an accident involving a big rig and a passenger vehicle has a high percentage of being catastrophic. According to the National Safety Council, a total of 4,965 people died in large-truck crashes in 2020. What many people often underestimate is the importance of the other vehicle in determining the injury level of its occupants. There are many factors affecting the impact and damage delivered in an accident with an 18-wheeler. We cover some that are considered most important.

Vehicle Safety Features

One of the most important aspects of how well the occupants of the smaller vehicle fare in an accident depends on the types of safety features on their car.

  • Airbags are the most effective life-saving safety features. Front airbags have been standard on all cars since the late ’90s. In recent years, side-impact airbags (SABs) have been becoming more prevalent in cars.
  • Anti-lock brake systems are designed to keep the vehicle from skidding out of control. The system rapidly pumps the brakes to keep them from locking.
  • Electronic stability control or ESC is designed to help prevent rollovers. Because rollovers are the most deadly types of accidents, this makes ESCs incredibly important safety features, especially on top heavy vehicles that may already be prone to rolling over.
  • Advanced Compatibility Engineering offered by some vehicles is used to minimize the damage the occupants of the vehicle take in the event of a collision. This is made possible by using multiple grades of steel so the vehicle can bend and give where needed to diffuse the impact, but it remains stable and strong in critical safety areas.

Driving Habits

The way you drive can affect the probability of getting into an accident with an 18-wheeler. People are now more likely to buckle up and avoid drinking and driving than they were in previous decades. Drivers should obey traffic laws, avoid excessive speed and aggressively changing lanes with no indication, and maintain safe following distances.

Rollover Tendency

A high-impact collision with an 18-wheeler is already an extremely serious event. If the vehicle rolls over because of the impact, the risk of serious injury or death to the occupants increases greatly. SUVs pose the greatest risk of rollover. Advances in engineering, as well as systems like ESC discussed earlier, have drastically decreased the risk of rollover in newer vehicles.

Size and Age of Vehicle

Larger, heavier vehicles will naturally sustain less damage in an accident and inclined to inflict more damage than smaller vehicles. This is what makes accidents with 18-wheelers so deadly. Even though no passenger vehicle can compete with a commercial truck in terms of size, larger vehicles do hold up better in an accident with one. Safety features, design and engineering, and materials have all progressed to make the average new car safer than a decade or older alternative.

If you’ve been in a head-on collision with an 18-wheeler, Parker Law Firm’s experienced personal injury lawyers are standing by to help you. Contact us for a free, no-obligation case evaluation to review your options.

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