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5 Fascinating Facts about Trucks

Popular Mechanic magazine estimates that there are about 3.2 million truck drivers in the United States. Regardless of trucking’s popularity in the U.S., the average highway traveler may not know much about trucks. Below are 5 fascinating facts about the multi-ton vehicles that share our U.S. highways.

5. Trucks have a legal weight limit and a standard length.

While you were driving along one of Kirkland’s surrounding highways, you might have noticed weigh stations. All trucks that travel U.S. highways must have a specific weight, which is checked periodically throughout its journey. According to the Trucker’s Report, Canada and the United States have the same legal weight limit of 80,000 pounds (or 40 tons).

Additionally, although the length of a truck can vary depending on its type, the standard length of a truck measures 70 to 80 feet from the center rear wheel to the center of the steer.

4. Trucks have a mathematical equation for their turning radius.

TheTruckersReport.com states that the average truck needs a 55-foot turning radius. This radius is arrived at by a precise mathematical equation using a two-step process.

First, the driver compares the angle of the corners and road with the truck’s length. Then, the driver measures the width of the road. Truck drivers are required to know whether their trucks can make wide or narrow turns.  

3. Trucks have an average of 12 gears.

Truck engines are much more complex than car engines because trucks require so much power to haul their loads. Trucks have 10 forward gears and 2 reverse gears.

Eighteen-wheel trucks do not run on an automatic transmission like cars; trucks have a double-clutch system that requires a lot of training and skill to learn and much practice to master. The most masterful of truck drivers use a technique called floating, in which the driver does not use clutches, except to start and stop.

2. Trucks have an angle at which a jackknife accident is inevitable.

Many highway drivers have heard that there are areas next to a truck in which they should not drive, but most don’t know other important factors that could cause an accident with a truck. For instance, trucks need much more time to decelerate than cars.

So when you are driving on hilly highways, pulling in front of a truck during a decline could cause a jackknife-type accident. If the driver has to brake very hard and comes to a 45-degree angle, a jackknife accident is inevitable. This is just one defensive driving technique to use around trucks.

1. Truck drivers are safer than most people think.

Max Meyers Law believes knowing the ins and outs of trucks can help you be safer on the highway. Pickuptrucks.com estimates that more accidents are caused by automobile drivers than truck drivers. In both head-on and rear-end collisions, automobile drivers were more likely to be liable. Additionally, while only 5 percent of trucking accidents were caused by drunk driving, 25 percent of passenger car accidents were caused by drunk driving in 2010.

The Bottom Line

Don’t let the drunk driving car accident stats scare you. While vehicles are known to cause many accidents with trucks, that doesn’t mean that your particular accident was caused that way. If you were involved in a Kirkland truck accident, speak with a knowledgeable truck crash attorney about what the outcome of a truck accident claim may be. Max Meyers Law is standing by for your call: 888-230-4970.