Has there been an increase of semi-trucks in your small town? While it may not seem like a big deal, you should be fully aware of how dangerous these vehicles can actually be. In fact, semi-trucks are five times more likely to cause serious injury or death than other vehicles. Unfortunately, some drivers have pretty big misconceptions about semi-truck accidents and these misconceptions can put you in harm's way when you climb behind the wheel. Here are a few common myths about accidents involving semi-trucks and the real facts you should know as a driver.

Myth: Most semi-truck accidents happen in the city or urban areas.

Fact: You may expect that a crowded city area would be more prone to big truck accidents, but the statistics show otherwise. At least 68 percent of all truck-related accidents occur in less-populated rural areas. Therefore, you have just as much to worry about when you are sharing the road with a semi in the country as you would on a city highway.

Myth: Semi-truck drivers follow strict guidelines to make sure they are safe drivers.

Fact: It's true that truckers go through a lot of training to obtain their commercial driver's license, and there are strict guidelines when it comes to things like how many hours an employee is allowed to drive or how often drug testing is performed. However, the notion that these guidelines are always followed is a huge fallacy. There have even been cases where drivers have been forced to falsify driving logs by their employer to get more time on the road; and, drug testing procedures may not always be followed completely either. So if you ever spot odd driving behavior, it is always best to report it. The driver could be falling asleep, or even worse, impaired by drugs or alcohol.

Myth: Semi-trucks have to be well-maintained to be in operation.

Fact: Part of what makes sharing the roadways with large vehicles so intimidating is the idea that even the slightest malfunction could lead to a major accident. Trucking companies may be required to keep their vehicles maintained and properly inspected, but occasionally, bad brakes, tires, and other mechanical components will slip through. That is not to mention the fact that owner-operator truckers don't have to report to a large company, so they may hold off on repairs to cut costs. Also, if you live in a rural town, these trucks may not have immediate access to needed parts or maintenance.

As a driver, make sure you fully understand the risks of sharing your driving space with these large vehicles and never hesitate to contact a personal injury attorney, like Leen and Emery, if you have seen poor driving habits threaten your town or have been involved in an accident with a semi.