There’s nothing quite like the freedom of the open road. Truck drivers know this feeling well when they step into the truck and look ahead at hundreds of miles stretched in front of them. However, the dream of the open road can quickly turn into a nightmare because truck drivers play a major role in car accidents. Approximately, 75% of all major motor vehicle accidents involve truck accidents. Why do trucks account for such a large portion? Here are the main causes of truck accidents.
Most accidents involving trucks occur because of a mistake the truck driver has made. If the driver can avoid these mistakes, a disaster can be averted.
Truck drivers spend hours on the road, driving long distances with little rest. They sleep in their truck sleeper beds with the hope of snagging the necessary rest for the next day’s long drive. However, few receive adequate or quality sleep.
Experts estimate that driving after being awake for 20 hours is comparable to driving with a 0.08% blood alcohol level. Just like inebriation, fatigue leads drivers to lose their concentration, causing avoidable accidents.
Truck drivers have stressful jobs. They navigate traffic and have deadlines to meet. Many drivers manage their stress through alcohol and drug use. Furthermore, truck drivers are away from their families for most of the week, living with little accountability.
It’s easy to make poor choices when you’re bored and have no one watching. Many truck drivers find themselves hooked on legal drugs and illegal drugs alike. An addiction can impair a driver’s coordination and judgment on the road, and accidents are likely to follow.
Speeding and Poor Time Management
Truck drivers have deadlines to meet, needing to reach their destination within a given time period. If weather, traffic, or just poor time management delays drivers, they will speed to catch up on time. High speeds with heavy trucks do not mix well. Accidents can occur quickly and easily under such conditions. High-speed accidents with heavy trucks will lead to fatalities.
Driving across the country isn’t always the most interesting job. Before smartphones existed, many drivers used their CB radios to keep track of each other and stay entertained. However, the digital world of smartphones has added a new element of entertainment and, unfortunately, distraction.
Even if truck drivers have the discipline to tuck their phones away while behind the wheel, reaching over to change a radio station while driving 80 mph with a heavy load can still cause problems. Drivers can quickly find themselves on the wrong side of a truck accident settlement because of their distracted driving.
Truck companies can implement multiple safety techniques to prevent truck accidents, but no one can control some aspects of open-road trucks. Environmental hazards play a role in many truck accidents, as well.
Rain, ice, snow, wind, and even fog have caused many truck accidents in the past. The pressure of getting a load to its location forces drivers to make dangerous decisions and drive in conditions that they would maybe otherwise avoid. While average drivers would just stay home when the weather looks bad, truck drivers look at the weather as just one more hurdle to jump over for their jobs.
Poor road upkeep can cause truck accidents, as well. Small cracks and potholes will jar smaller vehicles but not cause problems for trucks. However, when a trucker encounters a narrow road that is difficult to navigate or a missing shoulder, the driver can easily flip the truck or cause an accident. Road construction combined with bad weather like fog or heavy precipitation will spell almost certain disaster.
Many non-truck drivers do not understand how to maneuver around trucks. As a result, ignorant drivers can cause truck accidents as well. Here are a few tips for the person who is sharing the road with a truck.
- Do not change lanes quickly in front of a truck.
- Avoid driving in the area behind or beside a big truck where the driver has a blind spot.
- Do not pull up to the right of a truck that is signaling to turn right at a corner.
- Merge into traffic carefully and at the appropriate speed when merging into truck traffic.
- Do not drive between large trucks.
- Be aware and prepared for air turbulence or a crosswind when you pass a truck.
Drivers who abide by these rules can keep the trucker as well as other drivers safe. Truck drivers involved in accidents where other drivers make these mistakes need to seek help from a truck accident lawyer who understands these safe driving tips.
If a truck driver is aware of the occupational hazards that could cause an accident, then many problems can be avoided. Here are a few common occupational hazards.
Poorly Secured Loads
Truck drivers and trucking companies must make sure to secure all parts of a load. Doing so will prevent a part of the load from flying off and harming other vehicles and individuals.
Any truck that is hauling a liquid tank must make sure the tank has the minimal amount of liquid required. A partial load will slosh around and throw off the balance of the truck and the load, causing a truck accident.
All truck companies must make sure brakes, tires, and other critical components work properly. Truck drivers should have a checklist provided by their company that they run through before they step into the truck. You do not want to discover bad brakes when you’re flying down the freeway at high speeds with a full load.
Drivers should also be able to identify flaws in tires. Spotting a flaw in a tire or recognizing a mechanical problem before it fails will keep truck drivers far away from the typical truck accident case.
Contact Our Truck Accident Attorneys
Regardless of how cautious a driver you may be, being involved in a car accident is sometimes out of your control. Sustaining injuries from a wreck can be truly detrimental. If you were recently injured in a truck accident, you need experienced personal injury attorneys to take your case. Contact Alpha Accident Lawyers for a free consultation.