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Crashes involving semitrailers can have deadly consequences

Four family members were killed recently in a head-on crash involving a semitrailer. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the crash occurred March 22 outside of Union when the car crossed the center line of Highway 47, collided with the semitrailer, spun around and hit another passenger vehicle. An additional passenger vehicle was hit by debris from the semitrailer. The only other person who was injured was the truck driver, who was taken to a nearby hospital with minor injuries.

The news article does not share why the car with the family in it crossed the center line. However, the devastating damage caused by this crash is, unfortunately, typical of many crashes involving semitrailers.

Those who die in collisions between semitrailers and passenger vehicles are usually the occupants of the passenger vehicles. The occupants of passenger vehicles are more vulnerable in this type of crash because semitrailers can weigh 20 to 30 times as much as passenger vehicles and have a greater ground clearance.

What causes crashes between cars and semitrailers?

Crashes between semitrailers and passenger vehicles have a variety of causes. Sometimes this type of crash is caused by the negligent actions of truck drivers. This may include the truck driver speeding, driving when drowsy or failing to properly secure a load, among other reasons. However, some crashes between cars and semitrailers are caused by the actions of other drivers who may not understand how to drive safely around semitrailers.

Do you practice safe habits when sharing the road?

Because of their size, semitrailers have operating limitations that smaller vehicles do not have. This includes huge blind spots on all four sides, longer stopping distances and wide turns.

To responsibly share the road with semitrailers, consider adopting the following habits:

  • Avoid lingering in a semitrailer’s blind spots. If you cannot see the driver’s face in the truck’s mirror, assume that the driver cannot see you.
  • Never cut off a semitrailer. Allow extra space between your vehicle and a semitrailer before merging in front of it.
  • Do not follow too closely behind a semitrailer. Tailgating can leave you vulnerable to sliding or getting pushed under the semitrailer.
  • Never try to squeeze between a turning semitrailer and the curb. Trucks need to swing wide or start a turn from the middle lane, and cars that are in the way could get crushed.

If you have a loved one who died in a crash caused by the negligent actions of another driver, legal action may be appropriate. Although nothing can bring back your loved one, you may be able to receive compensation for funeral expenses, loss of income or other damages caused by your loved one’s wrongful death.

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