The Dangers of Speeding Semi Trucks and How to Avoid Accidents in Illinois

Semi-trucks, also known as tractor-trailers or big rigs, pose significant dangers to motorists when they drive at excessive speeds. Due to their massive size and weight, speeding semi-trucks take much longer to slow down and stop compared to other vehicles. High speeds also make them more prone to rollovers and make impacts far more destructive in a crash.

In the state of Illinois, truck speed limits on major highways reach up to 100kmh. However, with their immense momentum, semi-trucks should not be driving nearly that fast. Studies show speeding trucks have caused many deadly multi-vehicle pileups throughout Illinois and surrounding states. Excess speed plays a role in nearly 30% of all fatal truck crashes, according to national statistics. If you get into a wreck caused by excessive speed, speak to a Chicago personal injury attorney.

The Alarming Rate of Semi-Truck Accidents in Illinois

Beyond the terrible impacts from individual semi-truck crashes, the overall accident figures for large commercial trucks in Illinois paint a gloomy picture. Truck crashes in the state have been climbing over the past decade, according to IDOT data.

In the most recently tabulated year of 2019, over 15,000 truck-related crashes transpired in Illinois. Those collisions resulted in 141 fatalities and thousands of injuries. When compared to neighboring states, Illinois contained the second-highest total of truck accident deaths in the region.

Since 2011, annual truck accident fatalities on Illinois roadways have risen by 20 percent. With truck volumes and mileage expected to continue expanding, truck safety advocates fear crashes will persist on this upward trajectory without meaningful reforms.

Clearly, the frequency of truck crashes in the Prairie State presents cause for alarm. The dangers posed by semi-trucks appear to be intensifying rather than waning. Effectual initiatives to curb speeding trucks and enhance driver training requirements are desperately needed to reverse this trend. Through a joint effort, officials and motorists can potentially stabilize and decrease truck accident rates going forward. But progress will necessitate action on many fronts.

Major Risks All Drivers Should Understand

To help reduce semi-truck speeding accidents in Illinois, here are ten major risks to understand, as well as tips on how to steer clear of speeding big rigs.

  1. Longer Stopping Distance – At 65 mph or greater, semi-trucks can take over 500 feet to come to a complete stop when braking hard. That’s well over 1.5 football fields of distance traveled while attempting to slow down. With such an extensive stopping range, speeding trucks cannot avoid dangers or react to sudden traffic slowdowns ahead.
  2. Rollover Crashes – The higher a semi truck’s speed, the more likely it will roll over when having to turn or maneuver quickly. Rollovers then often cause trucks to slide across lanes or slam other vehicles. According to the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), over 40% of truck-related fatalities in Illinois result from rollover incidents.
  3. Blowouts – Blowouts become far more prevalent and hazardous, with truck tires spinning at elevated velocities. If blowouts occur on steering axles, they can cause immediate loss of control and lead trucks to veer dangerously off tracks. Blowouts also lengthen stopping distances.
  4. Inability to Handle Inclement Weather – Speeding semi-trucks struggle to adjust safely to snow, heavy rain, and icy roads. They can fishtail, hydroplane across slick surfaces, or jackknife when brakes lock up. Attempting to drive too fast during adverse weather commonly brings devastating outcomes.
  5. Lack of Reaction Time – Excess speeds provide truck drivers with inadequate time to react to other motorists’ maneuvers on the road. They cannot slow down or divert course rapidly enough to avoid sudden traffic pattern shifts or accidental swerves into their route.
  6. Blind Spots and No Escape Paths – At faster velocity ranges, the average passenger vehicle caught in a semi’s expansive blind spots or cut off by a truck has little opportunity to get out of harm’s way due to minimal response time available. Excess speed intensifies and amplifies this risk dramatically.
  7. More Serious Truck Car Crashes – When speeding semi-trucks smash into smaller vehicles, deaths are almost inevitable. The massive weight and size disparity coupled with high-velocity collisions frequently bring deadly outcomes. Survivors often endure disabling or catastrophic injuries as well.
  8. Multi-Vehicle Chain-Reaction Pileup – Speeding trucks frequently spawn chain-reaction crashes involving numerous vehicles. They ram slower cars ahead then get struck by other large trucks or traffic behind them, unable to halt in time. One truck driver’s poor speed choice can easily create carnage and mayhem on congested highways.
  9. Damage to Bridges and Roadway – Fast-moving 80,000-pound trucks with extreme momentum can pound bridges and overpasses beyond safe thresholds. Their pummeling effects over time compromise structural integrity, necessitating expensive repairs that burden taxpayers. Road surfaces also deteriorate faster under heavy high-speed truck loads.
  10. Difficult to Enforce Speed Limits – Police units on standard highway patrol have trouble catching up to and pulling over speed violators in semi-trucks due to the trucks’ sheer acceleration and cruising speeds. Thus, officers rarely succeed in deterring excessive velocity infractions.

Tips to Avoid Speeding Trucks

Here are key tips for motorists to protect themselves from speeding semi-trucks in Illinois:

  • Never linger or drive alongside trucks, especially in hazardous blind spots.
  • Maintain substantial distance between your vehicle and commercial trucks at all times.
  • Pass cautiously and deliberately when trailing slower trucks.
  • Allow trucks extra time and space for turns to avoid rollovers.
  • Practice vigilant scouting far ahead to spot emergency braking situations early
  • Report obviously reckless truck driving to authorities promptly when safe
  • Avoid unnecessary lane changes near trucks to maximize reaction opportunities.
  • Drive prudently and signal early so truckers can adapt as required.
  • Support stronger speed regulation and additional speed governor mandates.

By applying alert, protective driving habits, we can help curtail preventable semi-truck speeding accidents on Illinois roadways. Motorists and truck drivers alike must uphold disciplined velocity discernment near substantial trucks to safeguard all travelers. Motorists must also hold semi-truck drivers responsible for their actions. Through collective and cooperative prudence, needless multi-vehicle tragedies can diminish substantially.

Unfortunately, until things change, accidents will continue occurring on Illinois roads. If you’ve been involved in a semi-truck accident and want help getting compensation, contact our team of experts at Monge & Associates. We have offices in 32 locations across 19 states, including Nebraska, Pennsylvania and Illinois. Our team of lawyers has been helping people get the compensation they deserve for years. For further details, you can contact us for free on (888) 477-0597.