With the rise in traffic accidents, many motorists face anxiety when riding their vehicles on the road, especially around trucks. Some of their concerns are related to how safe their cars may be. It may force them to wonder whether trucks are any safer than cars.
Generally, it is safer to drive a truck than it is to drive a car. This is because trucks are considerably heavier than cars. However, trucks are also higher than cars, which means they can roll over more easily.
Keep reading below as we compare the safety of trucks and cars.
Trucks vs. Cars: Prevalence
Approximately 86% of all vehicles on the road are cars, 8% are light vans/SUVs, 5% are large trucks, and 1% are other types of vehicles like motorcycles and bicycles.
Although there are less trucks on the road compared to cars, fatal accidents involving trucks continue to be more common because of their size and weight.
Commercial trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, while the average car weighs only 3,000 to 4,000 pounds. If a large truck were to collide with a smaller car, the results could be catastrophic for the people inside the car.
What Matters The Most
According to studies conducted at the University of Buffalo, there is a 19% decrease in injury risk for passengers in a vehicle for every additional 1,000 pounds of weight. When two vehicles of different weights collide, the one that is heavier will generally provide better protection for its passengers.
This is a scientific fact. The G-force that is exerted on your body cannot be mitigated in any way, regardless of how well-engineered or technologically advanced the vehicle is.
When all vehicles involved are of comparable weights, improved safety design does reduce injuries and deaths in collisions. When a small car crashes into something that weighs 10 times as much as it does, the outcome is usually tragic.
Despite the importance of mass, passengers in a 4×4 are much less likely to survive a collision with a stationary object (such as a tree, barrier, building, etc.) than those in a car (who could have avoided the collision).
If you want to make driving safer, it’s important to focus on the most harmful part of the equation: the driver. Vehicles capable of driving themselves will be able to prevent the loss of tens of thousands of lives annually.
Other Factors That Decide Safety
Tires play a significant role; regardless of whether or not your vehicle is a 4×4 ride, if it is not equipped with some good tires, having a truck will not help.
Electronics are essential, and having a 4×4 does not automatically make a car more secure. These include:
- Traction Control
- Auto Emergency Brake
- Collision Detection and Warning
- Active seatbelts
There is a direct correlation between the structural rigidity of a vehicle and its ability to withstand collisions.
Crumple zones play a crucial role in determining how much impact the occupant of a vehicle experiences during a collision.
You can intimidate people with a large, lifted 4×4, but you can’t intimidate the laws of physics. Lifting the vehicle raises the center of gravity, which generates more body roll, making it a greater risk in corners when traveling at high speeds.
Are Trucks More Dangerous Than Cars?
A higher center of gravity (more likely to topple), longer braking distances (more likely to strike something), and poorer handling (less likely to maneuver out of danger) make high-riding vehicles, especially those on truck-based chassis, statistically more prone to crashes.
To make matters even worse, in the event of a collision, a 4×4 is going to cause significantly more damage to any pedestrian than a car will, plus they have a horrible propensity to climb up and over cars, which results in the occupants of the car getting killed by the truck frame entering the crush zone.
These are some of the key reasons why road safety officials refuse to allow the public to ride around in trucks without a legitimate reason for doing so and recently implemented crash safety performance specifications for light-duty trucks.
This isn’t just to help those riding the light truck survive, but also to make sure that the truck has the right passive safety features to keep it from killing pedestrians or individuals who are in other cars.
Challenges of Driving a Truck
Trucks are more difficult to drive due to their size and complexity. Commercial trucks are significantly larger and heavier than personal cars. Because of this, truck drivers have to be continuously mindful of blind spots, make wider turns, and give themselves more room to slow down or stop.
Failure to recognize and account for these differences can put people in danger of being involved in serious accidents.
Regular maintenance is particularly important for trucks. Trucks spend a lot longer on the road and have a lot more moving parts than regular cars. As a result, they wear out faster and suffer more damage.
That’s why it’s so important for truck drivers and trucking companies to do extensive routine upkeep on their vehicles. If they don’t, the resulting truck crash could be considered their fault.
Who is Responsible In a Truck Accident
The American Trucking Association (ATA) reports that car drivers are mostly to blame for around 80% of truck accidents in the United States. Separate research by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicated that cars were the primary cause of nearly 90 percent of truck accidents.
Assuming a standard deviation for each study and averaging the results, it’s probably reasonable to claim that the other driver is more often to blame than the truck driver for the majority of truck accidents.
Accidents involving large commercial trucks may involve numerous parties, each of which may have some degree of responsibility for the incident. Trucking companies, maintenance crews, manufacturers, vendors, and cargo loaders may also share responsibility for an accident involving their vehicles.
Therefore, trucks are typically much more dangerous when it comes to the damage that other vehicles sustain at the time of a collision, even though they may be much safer to be in than a car at the time of a collision.