What Are the Most Used Routes for Trucks in Missouri?

Missouri’s role as a transportation hub in the United States leads to high levels of truck traffic on certain roads and highways. The frequent travel of semi-trucks on these routes is essential for the state’s economy, but it also raises road safety issues.

The presence of so many trucks can increase the risk of accidents, so drivers need to be cautious when sharing the road with 18-wheelers. Learn more about Missouri’s well-traveled trucking routes, how they affect road safety, and what you can do to stay safe when driving alongside commercial trucks.

Missouri’s Trucking Economy

In 2020, there were over 153,000 trucking industry jobs in the Show-Me State and 12,300 Missouri-based trucking companies in operation. Nearly 3 in 4 Missouri communities primarily or exclusively depend on trucking to move goods across the state’s 132,094 miles of public roads.

The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) estimates that over 985 million tons of goods worth over $1.1 trillion pass through Missouri annually. Trucks transport 87% of these goods, indicating the state’s highways and many secondary roads are important trucking routes.

Missouri’s Major Trucking Corridors

Missouri’s central location in the U.S. makes it a strategic hub for trucking and goods transportation throughout the nation. Here are the four main corridors for trucking and road transportation in Missouri:

RouteLength in MissouriConnected Cities, Ports, and Distribution CentersReasons for UseKey Industries
I-70250 milesCities: St. Louis, Columbia, Kansas City, Independence.   Ports: Near major ports in St. Louis.Facilitates regional and interstate commerce, connecting major cities across Missouri.Retail, Consumer Goods, Agriculture, Industrial.
I-44293 milesCities: St. Louis, Rolla, Springfield, Joplin.   Distribution Centers: Springfield and Joplin.Supports regional commerce between Missouri and Oklahoma, vital for mining and cement logistics.Retail, Agriculture, Industrial, Mining, Cement Production.
I-55210 milesCities: Sikeston, Perryville, St. Louis.   Ports: River ports in St. Louis.Connects to other major highways, crucial for various industries due to its strategic north-south orientation.Manufacturing, Agriculture, Mining, Construction.
I-35115 milesCity: Kansas City. Facilitates access to distribution centers across states.Despite being short, it’s key for linking businesses and transporting goods across states.Manufacturing, Retail, Logistics, Technology, Warehousing.

Implications for Road Safety

Missouri’s highways experience heavy traffic, which impacts road safety. High traffic volumes contribute to a range of issues, such as the increased risk of accidents, heightened wear and tear on road infrastructure, and potential for traffic congestion.

  • Traffic Congestion: In cities such as St. Louis and Kansas City, heavy congestion heightens the chances of accidents. The combination of dense truck traffic and passenger cars in these busy urban areas calls for vigilant driving from everyone on the road.
  • Maintenance Requirements: Heavy usage of roads by large trucks requires regular maintenance to ensure safety. If overlooked, dangerous conditions such as potholes or faded road markings can heighten the risk of accidents.
  • Accident Risk: A large number of trucks alongside smaller vehicles increases the likelihood of accidents. This increased risk is due to various factors, such as driver fatigue, differences in driving skills, and the substantial size disparity between trucks and cars.
  • Weather Impacts: Missouri’s varied climate means these routes often face challenging weather conditions. Rain, snow, and ice can make driving treacherous, especially for large trucks requiring longer stopping distances.
  • Route Design: Some sections of these highways may have design features, such as sharp curves or steep grades, which are challenging for heavy trucks. This necessitates careful navigation to lower the accident risk on these roads.

Tips for Driving Alongside Trucks

When sharing the road with 18-wheelers, taking proactive steps can minimize the risk of accidents. Here are a few tips for driving safely alongside commercial trucks:

  • Stay alert and maintain distance. Always be fully attentive when driving, especially on highways like I-70 or I-55. Keep a safe following distance from trucks—at least four to five seconds behind—to allow ample reaction time for sudden stops or maneuvers.
  • Avoid blind spots and pass safely. Trucks have large blind spots on all four sides. Stay out of these “No Zones” whenever possible. Pass quickly and safely when overtaking, ensuring the truck driver has a clear view of you. After passing, avoid merging too closely in front of the truck; make sure you can see the front of the truck in your rearview mirror before changing lanes.
  • Respond to road conditions. Assess the road for hazards like potholes or slick surfaces and adjust your speed and driving style accordingly. Increase your following distance in poor conditions and be extra cautious on curves or steep grades where trucks may move unpredictably.
  • Be patient and predictable. Large trucks need more time to accelerate, turn, and stop. Be patient when driving around them and avoid sudden lane changes or maneuvers. Use your turn signals in advance to communicate your intentions to truck drivers and other motorists.

Get Legal Guidance After a Truck Accident

If you’re involved in a collision with a commercial truck on one of Missouri’s main highways, speak with our Missouri truck accident attorneys at Cofman Townsley. We have helped truck accident victims get the compensation they deserve for over 40 years.

We can use our experience with big truck accidents to help you negotiate with the trucking company for a fair settlement for your injuries. Contact us today for a free case review.