Truck accidents, especially those involving commercial trucks, have a high likelihood of being deadly. The sheer weight and force behind these vehicles can cause major issues and injuries in a heartbeat, after all. By knowing the common causes of truck accidents, you can more effectively do your part to prevent them (and save lives in the process). To educate you on this important issue, here are the eight most common causes of dangerous and deadly truck accidents:
Unfortunately, driving under the influence remains one of the key reasons for truck accidents. While operating heavy machinery such as large commercial trucks, a moment’s hesitation or intoxicated confusion can lead to massive accidents. For those that are injured by those under the influence on the road, especially truck drivers, contacting a truck accident attorney like Rosenfeld can help you navigate your legal situation.
2. Distracted Driving
Few bad driving habits are as dangerous as distracted driving. While truckers are professional drivers, they are still able to be distracted on the road. Especially given the long hours they spend on the road, distraction can sneak up unexpectedly. Thankfully, many truckers make a point to check in with and entertain one another to help fight back against potentially-distracted driving. Driving while preoccupied is risky, against the law, and negligent. This is especially true given the size of a vehicle. Truck drivers may inflict thousands of dollars’ worth of damage to property and, worst case scenario, several fatalities when they text or take their eyes off the road for a little period of time.
Unfavorable outcomes might occur when a truck must move or stop rapidly due to slick roads or poor vision. When a truck driver is exhausted from long distance travelling, the risk of unsafe driving circumstances is increased.
3. Improper Loading
Poor cargo loading causes huge issues in how well a truck can drive. Loud noises, improper balance, and other major issues can arise from lax loading practices. In some cases, large trucks even end up tipping over if they are loaded in an uneven and unprofessional fashion. When a commercial truck tips over while on the road, the results can be devastating.
4. Lax Vehicle Maintenance
Every driver is responsible for ensuring their vehicles are in safe and effective working condition every time they get on the road. For professional truck drivers, this duty is that much more important. Professional drivers have to stop at checkpoints to ensure their vehicles are up to the task, but accidents still happen despite these careful and well-thought-out safeguards.
5. Fatigue and Exhaustion
As we mentioned earlier, professional truck drivers are often scheduled for long shifts. Due to this, fatigue and exhaustion can become serious risks. While work is being done to ensure truck drivers are not taken advantage of by predatory management practices, there is a lot more work to be done. For this reason, truckers who are injured due to malicious management practices can benefit from the assistance of a truck accident lawyer as well.
Truck drivers frequently face the pressure to put in lengthy shifts. The fact that the law requires truck drivers to take a specific amount of breaks doesn’t bother some of them. The most hazardous situation on the road is undoubtedly when a truck driver falls asleep behind the wheel.
Like alcohol and narcotics, fatigue and insufficient sleep damage truck drivers. According to the NHTSA, it might be challenging for law enforcement to show that a driver was driving while fatigued when the incident happened. The NTSB considers fatigue-related accidents to be a widespread issue in transport. In their opinion, underreporting of sleepy driving occurs because there are no “telltale indicators” of it. Additionally, they clarify that poor sleep quality, internal conflicts, or health conditions can occasionally cause sleep deprivation.
6. Inclement Weather
Poor weather conditions can lead to tons of road hazards. Heavy rain and snow can cause sliding, while high winds can cause truckers to lose control. Additionally, heavy rainfall can severely limit truckers’ vision while they’re driving. If the weather is poor enough, truckers must pull over at a safe location to wait for storms and other inclement weather to pass. Their lives, and the lives of everyone else on the road, could depend on them taking this responsibility seriously.
7. Lax Driver Training
Truckers have to go through rigorous training and certification to legally do their jobs. However, some companies and truckers find ways to bypass safeguards and end up hitting the road with an unacceptably lax training experience. When this happens, the types of mistakes truck drivers are likely to make rise exponentially. Truck drivers and companies who work their way around proper training requirements can face major fines and even prison time in some states. Trying to find a loophole is never worth it when it comes to professional trucking.
8. Reckless Driving
Lastly, reckless driving by professional truck drivers leads to hundreds of deaths and major accidents on America’s roadways every single year. Whenever you see a truck driving recklessly, it’s your duty to report the incident. Doing so will save lives, and ensure that the truck driver does not suffer major injuries or death due to their own reckless driving. Knowing how to watch for reckless driving, and adjust your own driving to deal with the dangers it presents, is crucial.
It’s Your Duty to Keep the Roadways Safe
Whether you’re a professional truck driver or a pedestrian, it’s up to you to help keep the roadways safe. Practicing safe driving habits, keeping up-to-date on vehicle maintenance, and avoiding dangerous driving conditions all help to ensure everyone’s safety. For those who live in crowded metro areas, or who spend lots of time commuting to work on the highway every day, these safe driving practices become that much more invaluable. If you keep doing your part, you’ll ensure that the lives of your neighbors and loved ones are securely protected.