Full-size and heavy-duty trucks like the Ford F-250, Ram 2500, and the Chevy Silverado 2500HD may be contributing to increasingly dangerous conditions. As more people buy heavy-duty trucks and SUVs, more pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists in smaller vehicles are at risk.
Heavy Duty trucks keep getting bigger
According to Bloomberg, since 1990, U.S. pickup trucks have increased their weight by 1,300 lb. A few of the largest vehicles weigh up to 7,000 lb, which is triple the weight of a Honda Civic. Smaller vehicles don’t have a chance against these massive trucks.
Jalopnik shared that these trucks are being created to be massive and intimidating as they take over cities and parking lots, and drivers like it. During the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, people bought more pickup trucks than cars for the first time.
This heavy-duty truck increase correlates with the increase in fatalities among pedestrians and bicyclists. Both the Insurance Institute got Highway Safety and the Detroit Free Press have sourced increased demand for SUVs and large trucks as the leading cause of increased pedestrian fatalities.
Why are trucks so dangerous?
There are a few different ways that heavy-duty trucks and SUVs contribute to accidents. According to Accident Values, large load hazards can lead to wrecks. If a truck is overloaded, then the truck can be longer, wider, and heavier than usual, making it harder to control.
Too much weight can throw off the trucks’ center of gravity, making it easier to flip. Pairing a truck with an uncoupled trailer can offset its balance too. Plus, when a vehicle is heavier, more stopping distance is required. Also, if the load isn’t secure, cargo can fly out at highway speeds.
Vehicles with high weight are harder to control, making them more dangerous in inclement weather situations. Slippery roads and reduced visibility may cause a large truck or SUV to stop or maneuver quickly, leading to disasters.
Trucks have substantial blind zones in the front or rear, making them difficult to operate in crowded areas. Some trucks have 360-degree cameras and parking sensors to alert drivers, but others leave them in the dark.
About 87-percent of fatal crashes and injuries are caused by driver error. The driver may fall asleep, drift out of their lane, drive distracted, disobey speed limits and traffic laws, be unfamiliar with how to operate a larger vehicle, driving under the influence, and more.
But trucks keep passengers safer
Heavy-duty trucks and SUVs have a history of being developed from military to civilian use, like Jeeps or the Hummer. They are massive, bulletproof, and made with steel.
Trucks and SUVs with a body-on-frame design have the passenger compartments added to the frame and can better protect drivers and passengers. A unibody design consists of one piece that may crumple more easily.
This can attract more buyers to trucks and SUVs, even if they don’t need them for truck stuff. The ability to haul massive loads is great, but in towns where large trucks are the most popular vehicle then people want a truck of their own to feel protected.
Driving more safely may be the key to protecting people around you. Make sure your cargo is secure and that your trailer is properly attached. Give yourself more space to stop and slow down.
Be aware of your blind spots, and don’t drive distracted. Put your phone or snack down. Avoid sudden movements and overcorrecting your vehicle. Also, don’t drive tired or under the influence.