Many types of truck accidents are preventable. However, when they occur, the injuries sustained can be devastating and completely life-changing.
According to a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 11% of deaths in motor vehicle accidents happened with large truck accidents. Because trucks are so much bigger than the average-sized car, accidents involving these trucks can lead to serious injuries and even death.
By knowing the common causes of truck accidents, it becomes much easier to prevent them from happening. Here are the 7 most common causes of truck accidents.
1. Speeding and Overtaking
One of the most common causes of truck accidents is speeding and overtaking. One of the biggest reasons why this is so dangerous for truck drivers is that their larger vehicles take much more time to slow down. If they are speeding, then their reaction times are much lower and they may lose control.
Often, truck drivers speed because they have deadlines to reach their destination. Other times trucks may speed on bad roads because they feel like their truck can handle it. By avoiding speeding and avoiding trucks that are speeding on the road, you can prevent many accidents.
Overtaking is similar to speeding. If a truck is passing a vehicle that is going the same direction, especially when the lane is merging, it may force other drivers off the road.
2. Distracted Driving
Another huge issue for drivers (both truck drivers and other motorists alike) is distracted driving. While the most common type of distracted driving is from cell phones and other types of technology, there are many others that drivers need to avoid.
For example, many truck drivers do not want to take a break to eat their meals. If they are on a tight schedule, they may eat while they are driving. This is very dangerous, as it is a form of distraction that can lessen their reaction time.
Other distractions can even come from using a GPS, adjusting the radio, or focusing for too long on things outside of the cab.
3. Not Keeping a Safe Distance Between Cars
Both truck drivers and drivers of other vehicles can cause truck accidents by not providing enough distance between each other. A safe distance is typically determined by the “three-second rule.”
Drivers must give each other enough space before passing. When drivers change lanes abruptly, truck drivers may not be able to slow down quickly enough. This is especially true on crowded freeways and in traffic.
It’s also important to provide trucks enough distance in their no-zones. These are areas of trucks that have limited or no visibility. These are not your normal blindspots, as truck drivers have no way to see behind their trucks.
By avoiding these blind spots of truck drivers, you can help them maintain better visibility and avoid crashes.
Another common cause of truck accidents is fatigue. To prevent this, truck drivers have a protocol known as the “Hours of Service” policy. This means that they must take a break after driving for a certain amount of time.
This helps drivers rest and recover to prevent fatigue. However, truck drivers still have very demanding hours and spend a lot of time behind the wheel. If they are behind schedule or are trying to get to their destination faster, they may drive for longer than is safe.
In these situations, fatigue can cause driver error and may cause deadly accidents.
5. Severe Weather
Severe weather is a big factor in many truck accidents. Because trucks are so much bigger, it may feel safer to drive them in harsh or unfamiliar weather. However, any type of vehicle can lose control on bad roads.
To help prevent these accidents, it is important to train truck drivers and ensure they know how to drive safely during harsh storms.
6. Lack of Maintenance
Many trucking companies have to follow laws that require them to maintain their trucks. This will prevent issues with the machinery and can also prevent a lot of accidents.
For example, many truck accidents involve some type of brake failure. Others happen because tires are not properly maintained and lead to a blowout on the freeway.
By properly maintaining trucks, trucking companies can prevent a lot of accidents. However, it takes a lot of time and money to keep your trucks well maintained. Because of this, many companies do not keep their trucks properly maintained.
7. Human Error
Finally, human error is the biggest reason for truck crashes. This includes a lot of the common causes of accidents that have previously been discussed, like speeding.
However, many drivers are negligent and do not take enough precautions because they feel like they are safe drivers. Regardless, it is important to always stay alert and drive defensively, especially near large commercial trucks, big-rigs, and 18-wheelers.
Top-Rated Truck Accident Attorney
Many types of truck accidents are preventable. However, when they occur, the injuries sustained can be devastating and completely life-changing. If you have been in a truck accident, you will need an experienced personal injury attorney on your side.
If you are looking for a truck accident attorney in California, The Law Offices of Daniel Kim can help. We represent clients in Los Angeles County, San Bernardino County, Riverside County, and other surrounding counties throughout Southern California.
Contact our office today for a free consultation and to get help recovering from your truck accident.
LegalReader thanks our friend Daniel Kim for permission to republish this piece.