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What are long-combination vehicles, and why are they a problem?

On Behalf of | Aug 17, 2023 | Truck Accidents

The bigger a motor vehicle is, the more intimidating it may seem to others in traffic. Commercial vehicles tend to cut a much more imposing figure than even the largest passenger vehicles. Semi-trucks, buses and garbage trucks can make people look twice and leave a little more space when driving because they don’t want to be too close to these massive vehicles.

Semi-trucks, in particular, play a role in some of the worst collisions that happen every year across the United States. Even an 18-wheeler hauling an empty trailer could potentially cause a multi-vehicle collision or a catastrophic crash that puts someone in the hospital due simply to the ways in which its size and weight impact others involved in an accident.

The bigger and heavier a semi-truck is, the greater the threat it poses to others in traffic. The increasing use of long-combination vehicles for commercial transportation purposes is, therefore, cause for concern for those who must share the road with these massive vehicles.

What are long-combination vehicles?

Long-combination vehicles are much like their name implies. They are a combination of parts that is longer than the average semi-truck. A long-combination vehicle is essentially a commercial truck with more than a single, standard trailer attached. Oftentimes, a long-combination vehicle will involve a single cab pulling two trailers or even three in extreme cases. Such arrangements can be efficient in terms of transportation costs, but they pose major concerns for safety on the road.

Long-combination vehicles have major safety implications

One of the reasons that semi-trucks are so dangerous to others on the road is that they have such large blind spots. Drivers usually cannot see behind the truck or any vehicles that are in the lane to the left of their trailer or the two lanes to the right of their trailer. A far bigger long-combination vehicle will have substantially bigger blind spots.

The two other common safety issues related to semi-trucks are their long stopping distances and wide turns. Long-combination vehicles exacerbate both of these issues, as they are much heavier and will therefore take longer to stop than other vehicles. The extra trailer(s) attached to the vehicle will also typically mean that turning will be even more of a challenge, especially at an intersection with only two lanes.

Drivers operating long-combination vehicles are often very aware of the limitations of their vehicles and are likely well-trained in operating them safely. However, when things go wrong with such massive vehicles, the consequences are often catastrophic for the other parties involved. Knowing about and avoiding the biggest safety risks on the road can protect those who occasionally encounter long-combination trucks and other commercial vehicles when traveling.


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