Driving at high speeds is dangerous for all vehicles on the road. It is even more dangerous for large trucks and is a common cause of big rig accidents. In these type of accidents, people are often injured, sometimes fatally. Even if it is within the speed limit, driving at high speeds can still result in big rig crashes. Therefore, preventing speed-related big rig wrecks requires truckers to not only stay within the speed limit, but sometimes to drive below them.
Dangers of High Speed Travel for Big Rigs
The faster a vehicle travels down the highway, the greater the possibility that the driver could lose control. In the case of large trucks which are already more difficult to control, high speeds can very easily affect vehicle control. The results are often deadly big rig accidents that could have been prevented had the operator driven at a lower speed. Following are some ways driving at high speeds can lead to big rig crashes:
- Operators have less time to react to things that occur on the road. Reaction time is greatly affected when an operator drives fast and is drowsy or distracted. Delayed reaction is a prime factor in many big rig wrecks related to high speed travel.
- Trucks loaded with cargo require a longer stopping distance the faster they are moving. A fast-moving semi also means the brakes and mechanicals must work harder to bring it to a stop. Big rig rear-end accidents are common when trucks travel too fast and cannot stop in time or experience a mechanical failure when trying to stop.
- Heavily loaded trucks that are traveling at high speeds produce a great deal of momentum. This momentum makes them more difficult to control and stop and also causes greater damage if there is a big rig crash. If injuries are sustained, they can be more serious or even fatal.
Tire Ratings and High Speed Travel
Besides the more obvious concerns with trucks that travel at high speed, there is another serious issue that all operators should pay notice. Sometimes, speed limits are simply too high for trucks to safely travel without the risk of a big rig wreck.
Most commercial truck tires are rated for use at 75 mph when properly inflated and well maintained. Many highways including those in Texas have speed limits up to 80 or 85 mph. Such high speed limits increase the possibility that a driver will lose control of their truck and increase the likelihood of a tire blowout.
When tires are continuously driven at speeds in excess of their approved speed rating, they wear out faster than when used at or below their speed rating. Add to this the fact that many trucks on the highway have under-inflated tires and the risk of a blowout increases exponentially. Along with excessive speed, blowouts are one of the more common causes of big rig accidents. So higher speed limits are a significant concern for big rigs and safe travel.
Although common sense would suggest that driving at high rates of speed is dangerous, many do not realize just how dangerous it can be for large trucks. Even when speed limits allow driving at faster speeds, experts recommend that operators refrain from driving higher than the rating of their tires or risk causing big rig crashes. To prevent big rig wrecks, operators should slow down to maintain control and their tires!
Hildebrand & Wilson, LLP
Robert W. Hildebrand, Attorney at Law
J. Daniel Wilson, Attorney at Law
7830 Broadway, Suite 122
Pearland TX 77581
Phone: (281) 410-5810