According to the National Safety Council, the number of fatal accidents involving commercial vehicles in 2021 represented a 47% increase over 10 years. A key to ending this trend is for passenger vehicle drivers to understand how commercial vehicles are different.
Recognizing the differences between passenger vehicles and commercial vehicles leads to understanding how accidents may unfold and encourages adopting safe driving practices.
Size and weight
One fundamental distinction lies in the size and weight of these two types of vehicles. Commercial vehicles, such as trucks and buses, are substantially larger and heavier than typical passenger vehicles. In the event of an accident, this size differential often results in more severe consequences for the occupants of the smaller vehicle. The impact of a collision involving a commercial vehicle can lead to greater damage and a higher risk of injury for those in the smaller vehicle.
Commercial vehicles handle differently than passenger vehicles. They need more space to brake and stop because they are bigger and heavier. This means passenger vehicles should keep a greater distance behind them to allow enough time to stop. If passenger vehicles do not consider these differences, it can lead to rear-end collisions.
Maneuvering commercial vehicles is also different. They need more room to make turns, so it is harder for them to navigate tight situations. Drivers of regular vehicles should know about this and avoid getting in the way of a turning commercial vehicle. If they do not, it can result in accidents like sideswipes or turning-related incidents.
Visibility is important in accidents involving passenger and commercial vehicles. Commercial vehicles usually have bigger blind spots, so it is imperative for drivers of regular vehicles to be careful when driving near them. Being visible in the mirrors of a commercial vehicle and avoiding staying in their blind spots can help lower the chance of accidents.
When drivers understand how things work, they help create a culture of shared responsibility for road safety and lower the risk of accidents involving these different types of vehicles.