How to Stay Safe Around Trucks on New Mexico’s Most Dangerous Roads

Why Truck Accidents
Are So Dangerous

Truck crashes are often much more dangerous for drivers than other kinds of accidents. A major factor in this is the extreme weight of the trucks on our roads. Under New Mexico state regulations, a truck can weigh up to 86,000 pounds fully loaded.

With that amount of freight, and possibly more if the driver or their employers have overloaded the vehicle, a tractor-trailer can easily become unbalanced. If improperly loaded or operated by an inexperienced driver, a truck might veer into another lane and cause catastrophic crashes. A heavy truck also needs much more time and distance to stop than a lightweight car.

Distracted driving is another common cause of truck accidents. Truckers should never use cellular or other digital devices while driving. Driving while tired or impaired results in similar dangers. There are federal limitations to the hours truckers can drive, but many stretch them or break them altogether. All of these kinds of driving can be considered negligence and result in liability for the trucker and their employers when a crash results.

Motor-vehicle Number of deaths

Truck Icon White 4,136 Fatalities Caused by Truck Crashes

Fatality statistics show just how much more dangerous crashes are for drivers who are hit by trucks instead of other cars. According to the National Safety Council, 39,404 people died in crashes in a single recent year. That includes all kinds of vehicles, including trucks. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, some 4,136 of those fatalities were the result of large truck crashes. The overwhelming majority of the victims were occupants in smaller vehicles, unprotected pedestrians, or bicyclists.

Trucks vrs Cars Size Comparison Chart

  • Class 1-3
    Non-Commercial Vehicles
    Class-1-3 icon
  • Class 8
    over 33, 001 pounds
    Class 8 icon
  • Class 9 (18-Wheeler)
    over 80, 000 pounds
    Class 9 icon

Top Five Most Dangerous
Roads in New Mexico

Several of New Mexico’s highways have the distinction of being incredibly dangerous. Unsurprisingly, these scary roads are also our busiest, largest roads. If you need to travel on any of these roads, practice extra caution and remember to bring appropriate safety gear, including a cell phone to contact authorities in the case of an accident.
Top Five Most Dangerous Roads in New Mexico U.S. 550 from north of Albuquerque to Colorado is often overcrowded and features an unsafe design Interstate 40, including the Albuquerque metro area Interstate 25, which intersects with I-40, creating a dangerous convergence of two very busy roads U.S. 285 near the Texas line is often full of trucks hauling oil and other industrial traffic Interstate 10 runs across the state and consists of long stretches of open roads that encourage speeding and driver fatigue

Contributing Factors:

Oil and Gas Boom

Both local and national outlets have reported on the huge oil and gas boom in New Mexico. Many New Mexicans have eagerly filled new jobs. While fracking has brought needed work and money to the state, it has also brought attendant pollution, crowding, and truck crashes.

According to the Carlsbad Argus, Eddy County officials are dealing with deteriorating roads. Heavy traffic, including from oil and gas fields, has caused damage to the roads themselves, as well as crashes. Southeast New Mexico has suffered the most, according to the Albuquerque Journal. The New Mexico Oil and Gas Association reports that there are plans for improvements to the roads in the works.

New Mexico Crash Map

Looking at the map reveals how the dangerous roads concentrate crashes in a few key areas. Hot spots include major metro areas, especially Albuquerque. Many fatal truck crashes occur near the oil and gas fields. These are the same southeastern roads that NMDOT plans to improve.

View Truck Wrecks By Year

Choose a Year Below To Update The Map:

How to Drive Safely Around Trucks

If you don’t have a lot of experience driving with large trucks, here are some simple tips:
  • Tip Icon
    Never crowd a big rig. Heavily loaded trucks need plenty of space to stop or change lanes. Driving close to a truck is dangerous.
  • Tip Icon
    Avoid blind spots. Truckers can’t see areas immediately behind, next to, and directly in front of their vehicles. Don’t linger in these “no zones.”
  • Tip Icon
    Don’t cut them off. They won’t be able to stop in time or otherwise avoid colliding with your car.
  • Tip Icon
    Never drive drunk, distracted, or drowsy. If you’re going to share the road with large trucks, you can’t take any chances.