Most drivers get into in a fender bender with another car at some point, but what should you do if you’re involved in an accident with a larger vehicle, such as a semi truck? Collisions featuring semis are very different than regular accidents, most notably because the amount of damage sustained is generally much higher.

Semi-trucks are bigger than regular vehicles, and weigh almost 80,000 pounds, or about 20 times more than a compact car. As a result, more damage is inevitable in a collision with a truck. Here’s what makes a truck crash legally distinct from other types of accidents, and what you should be prepared for.

Most common types of truck accidents

Because of their increased weight and size, trucks are more prone to certain accidents than other vehicles on the road. One of the most common types of truck accidents is a rollover, which occurs when the driver loses control of the vehicle and it flips onto its side, sliding along the motorway and blocking traffic in the process. Another frequent truck accident is the “swinging turn” collision. This happens when the truck swings out to the left during a right turn. If you’re not aware of this phenomenon, you and your vehicle may get swiped in the process.

You should also be aware of a semi-truck’s blind spots if you’re driving alongside a truck for any period of time. Also known as “No Man’s Land,” these large areas of decreased visibility in a trucker’s mirrors mean that you may get merged into.

Finally, one of the deadliest types of truck accidents is the “under ride”, which is particularly dangerous if you’re behind the wheel of a smaller vehicle. In an underride collision, a semi stops abruptly, and the automobile behind it gets jammed underneath its trailer. As you can see, some of the most common accidents involving trucks are also some of the scariest.

Truck drivers have different standards than regular drivers

In the United States, truck drivers all must pass frequent tests and background checks governed by something called the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulation Act. This act aims to create safer driving conditions for all truckers by regulating how many hours drivers can be on the road a day, as well as rigorous standards and limits relating to drug and alcohol testing. Other countries, like Canada, have similar laws, like the Motor Vehicle Transport Act’s Commercial Vehicle Drivers Hours of Service Regulations.

Since truck drivers have different driving standards than normal drivers when they’re behind the wheel, it can be useful for you to consult with a truck crash lawyer in the event of an accident. An experienced legal professional can help you navigate the ins and outs of these regulations, which may pin greater liability on the truck driver.

Always call emergency responders

If you’re involved in or witness to a collision involving a truck, it is imperative that you call emergency responders immediately. The severity of such accidents means professional help is crucial, both for the safety of all involved parties and for the investigative know-how required to determine who is at fault. Such investigations may involve questioning the truck driver, yourself, and other motorists to determine if the truck driver was distracted or sleepy, or if they illegally switched lanes.

An investigation should also be able to isolate any problems related to the truck itself, such as if it was properly loaded and maintained, or if adverse weather conditions contributed to the accident. Knowing this information is key if you plan to press charges or speak to a lawyer about your accident, as it can have a major impact on your case’s outcome.

Due to their size and scope, truck accidents can be very frightening. Understanding how truck accidents differ from regular collisions is the first step in avoiding them on the road. If you’re involved in an accident with a semi-truck, make sure to always call emergency responders, and consult with a knowledgeable legal professional before pressing charges. Their deep understanding of the rules and regulations governing truck drivers will help you get the best possible results.