Winter is not even here yet, and already Texas drivers have faced several winter storm hazards. But perhaps the greatest challenges are for semitruck drivers who have to navigate their big rigs through snow and ice.
A few years ago, the British publication The Guardian published an "Ask Me Anything" (AMA) interview with an over-the-road truck driver in the United States as part of their "A day's work" series.
You're headed down I-10 and wind up stuck behind a semitruck riding in the left lane. With nothing to see but the rear of the big rig's bumper, your drive quickly becomes monotonous.
There's no doubt that large, commercial semitrucks significantly increase the number of highway deaths and injuries here in the United States. As reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), big trucks were responsible for 8 percent of the automobiles involved in fatal collisions in 2015. Of the 3,744 large trucks that got into those fatal wrecks, 73 percent were combination trucks, i.e., semitrucks.
If you noticed that prices are on the rise across-the-board in 2018, you are indeed correct. There are many factors that affect the economy and inflation, but a primary element in the higher costs at the cash register is the shortage of truck drivers all over the United States.
When large commercial trucks are involved in highway collisions, it's motorists and occupants of passenger cars who are most at risk of serious injuries and death. So it's fair to question whether the training these big rig drivers receive is sufficient for them to learn how to safely avoid accidents.
When a large truck gets into a collision, it typically is more serious than when two passenger vehicles collide. That's due to the size and weight of the semitruck and the hazards it poses to those drivers and passengers in smaller, lighter autos.
You don't want to mix a big rig and bad brakes. Large semitrucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, and they're difficult and slow enough to stop when their brakes are functioning properly. Imagine one of these trucks operating with poorly functioning breaks, they're going to stop even slower and catastrophic accidents can result -- especially when they're trying to navigate traffic among nimbler and more agile small vehicles.
Sharing the Texas highways and interstates with big rig beast bearing down on your rear bumper can be quite nerve-racking and anxiety-producing.
A jackknifing truck is one of the riskiest road hazards of all because it is essentially a truck that is out of the control of its driver. While cruising down Interstate 10, drivers who encounter this nightmarish scenario are at risk of serious injury — or worse.