Sharing the road with a heavy loaded 18-wheeler

Semis, tractor-trailers, 18-wheelers – whatever you want to call them, the drivers and their loads travel the highways 24/7. When sharing the road with one of these big rigs, accidents inevitably happen – ones you may not be able to avoid.

However, you can control your awareness of your surroundings. The lanes of the highway where semis tend to gravitate might be the areas you want to avoid. Another detail to pay close attention to is the loads these big trucks carry. What if you see a truck start to lose its load? Is there anything you can do to keep from involving yourself in a crash?

Crash statistics

The Illinois Department of Transportation released a report this year revealing that over 11,000 crashes involved tractor-trailers in 2017. More accidents occurred in an urban setting, but more fatalities happened in rural areas.

18-wheeler safety regulations

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration provides rules and regulations concerning driver and cargo safety. The administration publishes a driver’s handbook specifically for cargo securement, which covers loads such as logs, automobiles and heavy machinery.

Each shipment requires strict attention to securing items to withstand a minimum amount of force in each direction – forward, rearward, sideways and upward. An improperly secured load can result in the following:

  • Loss of life
  • Loss of cargo
  • Damage to the cargo and vehicle
  • An accident
  • Fines and citations

Your safety

An 18-wheeler does not maneuver as well as a smaller vehicle. The driver requires more space to stop and a wider angle in which to turn the truck. When the load is not secured correctly, it might shift or fall off.

A leading cause of accidents involving semis and cars is the lack of space between the two. The more distance you put between yourself and the truck, the more reaction time you have to maneuver around something that may fall off.

Keep your eyes on the other vehicles around you, as well. These drivers may not be aware of falling cargo. Your safety, as well as theirs, may depend on how you avoid the threatening situation.