Truck accidents are an unfortunate, yet common, occurrence on the roads of Utah. The state is a significant hub for commercial trucking, given its strategic location. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 4,965 people were killed, and an estimated 146,930 were injured in accidents involving large trucks in 2020 nationwide.

Despite stringent regulations, truck safety remains a concern. Multiple factors such as road conditions, driver experience, and vehicle maintenance play a role in how safe a truck is on the road.

While there is abundant information available on truck safety, misconceptions persist that can contribute to accidents and put lives at risk. As seasoned Utah accident attorneys, we dispel common myths about truck safety and accidents in Utah in this article to educate the public to make the roads safer for everyone.

Myth #1: Bigger Trucks Are Always Safer

The notion that a larger truck provides better safety is quite pervasive, but it’s far from the truth. Larger trucks are not only harder to maneuver but also require longer distances to come to a complete stop. These aspects make it challenging to avoid sudden obstacles or adapt to rapid changes in traffic conditions. Hence, the risk of being involved in a Salt Lake City truck accident — or anywhere else in Utah — is not necessarily reduced by the truck’s size.

Myth #2: Truck Drivers Can See Everything

Many people assume that the elevated viewpoint of a truck’s cabin gives the driver a panoramic, unobstructed view of the road. However, trucks have significant blind spots on both sides, as well as the front and rear. These ‘no-visibility zones’ can conceal a car or even a small group of vehicles, leading to risky situations that can easily escalate into accidents. For this reason, drivers must be aware of these blind spots and navigate cautiously when near trucks.

Myth #3: Tailgating Trucks Prevents Them From Changing Lanes

Tailgating is a dangerous practice, regardless of the type of vehicle involved. When you tailgate a truck, you place your vehicle in one of the truck’s most significant blind spots directly behind it. This obscures you from the truck driver’s limited field of vision and drastically increases your risk of an accident if the truck has to stop suddenly or change lanes for any reason.

Myth #4: All Trucks Have Adequate Maintenance

Federal and state laws stipulate rigorous standards for truck maintenance to ensure road safety. However, these regulations are not always met. Poorly maintained trucks are ticking time bombs; they are more susceptible to mechanical failures like brake malfunctions, tire blowouts, or steering issues. Such mechanical failures can lead to disastrous accidents, especially at highway speeds.

Myth #5: Trucks Are Big Enough to Protect You Without a Seatbelt

Many people fall into the trap of thinking that the large, sturdy build of a truck is sufficient to protect them in case of an accident. This is a dangerous misconception. In the event of a collision or even a sudden stop, the forces involved can easily propel an unbuckled person against the interior of the truck or even eject them from the vehicle entirely. Such scenarios often result in severe injuries or fatalities, making seatbelts an essential safety feature that should never be overlooked.

Myth #6: Truck Accidents Are Always the Truck Driver’s Fault

It’s a common assumption to immediately point the finger at truck drivers when accidents occur. While it’s true that driver error can be a contributing factor, other elements like adverse road conditions, mechanical failures, or even mistakes from other drivers can also play significant roles. For example, poor weather conditions can make roads slippery, and a vehicle failure like a tire burst can happen without warning, irrespective of how experienced the truck driver is.

Myth #7: Small Vehicles Always Suffer More in Truck Accidents

While the laws of physics suggest that smaller vehicles are often at a disadvantage in collisions with larger vehicles like trucks, it’s not an absolute rule. There are instances where the truck can incur significant damage, or the truck driver can sustain serious injuries. Factors such as the speed at which the accident occurs, the point of impact, and even safety features in the truck can influence the outcome.

Myth #8: All Truck Accident Claims Result in Large Settlements

The public often hears about truck accident cases resulting in large settlements, giving rise to the belief that all such claims yield hefty compensation. However, every case is different, and not all result in large settlements. Factors like the extent of injuries, damage to property, and even the legal complexities involved can impact the settlement amount. For a more accurate understanding of your case’s merits, consulting an experienced truck accident lawyer in Salt Lake City is highly recommended.

Myth #9: Truck Accident Claims Are Easy to Handle Alone

Many people underestimate the complexities involved in resolving a truck accident claim. Multiple parties could be involved, including the trucking company, its insurance provider, and law enforcement agencies. Each of these entities will have their interests to protect, making the legal landscape quite complicated. Therefore, having an experienced Utah accident attorney can be invaluable in navigating this intricate process successfully.

Myth #10: Truck Accident Cases Always Go to Court

There’s a prevailing notion that truck accident claims inevitably end up in court. While litigation is a possibility, some cases are actually resolved through out-of-court settlements with the help of a truck accident lawyer in Salt Lake City. Negotiations between the involved parties often yield a resolution without the need for a protracted court battle. Going to court is generally considered a last resort and only occurs when negotiations break down, or a fair settlement cannot be agreed upon.

Misconceptions about truck safety and accidents in Utah can be not only misleading but also dangerous. By debunking these myths, we hope to contribute to safer roads in Utah. If you or a loved one has been involved in a truck accident in Utah, it is essential to consult a qualified injury lawyer in Salt Lake City, UT. Contact us today for a consultation; let Craig Swapp and Associates help you navigate the complex legal landscape.

Written By: Ryan Swapp     Legal Review By: Craig Swapp