Your Complete Online Guide to Common Truck Accident Causes and How to Avoid Them
When compared to the most common passenger car crashes, truck accidents are a lot more dangerous to deal with, mostly because of their astonishing weight and size. A 4-wheel car weighs about 4,000 pounds, while an average 18-wheel truck tends to weigh more than 80,000 pounds. Each day truck accidents occur and it’s hard to see all the catastrophic consequences, including serious injuries, coma, and death, they lead.
There are many reasons why truck accidents happen and some of them are difficult to explain and prevent while others can be easily prevented. For instance, some truck accidents happen because of the things that people can’t control. However, the majority of those truck accidents are absolutely preventable. Understanding the biggest triggers of truck accidents will help you become a responsible driver, as well as alert trucker. Here’s your complete online guide to common truck accident and how to avoid them:
- Driver errors
While making mistakes in life is okay – no one is perfect, after all, it’s life-threatening when you drive a truck. In spite of having a huge responsibility and obligation to drive safely, a lot of drivers, including truck drivers, tend to commit mistakes that lead to different types of accidents. There are truck drivers who drive under the influence of drugs, drive drunk, drowsy, or recklessly. Some truck drivers drive distractedly, and other drive without knowing any road regulations.
Distraction is probably the biggest trigger of truck accidents. Truck drivers are usually distracted by a variety of activities – from listening to music or radio, watching a passenger, and enjoying beautiful outdoor scenery to eating and drinking. But the most common trigger of truck accident is a smartphone or other gadgets.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration decreased the number of truck drivers who are distracted on the road. They placed a serious ban on the usage of smartphones when truck drivers operate their rigs. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration claims that using a smartphone is not allowed for commercial drivers. When caught, the drivers who violate the rules have to cope with civil a range of penalties.
A number of researches indicate that most trucking accidents are triggered by driver’s errors are because of not the trucker (22%) and the passenger vehicle driver (that’s about 81%). As you can see most of the habits that prevents you from falling asleep are on the list. Try to come up with the things or habits that might help you avoid distractions when driving.
Apart from distractions, learn how to keep a safe distance from smaller cars. Stay slower and patient with other drivers and remember you might be prone to mistakes, too. The truck drivers who violate the rules have to know and experience face civil penalties. The accidents that involve big commercial trucks are particularly complex. The commercial truck accident is almost impossible to handle on your own.
- Weather conditions
Truck drivers may not know when rain or snow will occur in the middle of the road. No matter how hard you try, you can’t predict the exact weather conditions – even if you have a habit of checking the weather forecast on your phone every hour. Sleet, snow, and rain can make even the most ideal roads dangerous for all but especially truck drivers, increasing the likelihood of an accident. If the traffic suddenly stops or it gets backed up, in most cases, it’s extremely hard for a truck to drive to a safe place on the bad road.
When local roads are horrible, truck drivers had to regulate and adjust their speed. In some cases, a driver might have to adjust their routes, as well. Keep an eye on your local weather conditions and watch the skies. When it’s raining or snowing, it’s best to stop and wait till the weather gets better. Really, after distractions, this truck accident can cause serious consequences, too.
- Cargo loading errors
More and more truck drivers today pay the full penalty for overloading their cargos. The wrongly loaded cargo can also result in a truck accident because the cargo shifts unexpectedly, making the trailer of the truck to tip or move. In case the cargo is poorly secured, it might fall off your truck into the road anytime, triggering a crash.
In fact, there are a few types of commercial truck accidents, which happen due to wrongly loaded cargo:
- Falling cargo: The cargo flies off the truck bed when it’s not secured properly. That’s highly dangerous for all drivers on the road and usually results in a clash.
- Tire blowouts: If a semi-trailer is overloaded or loaded improperly, it will negatively impact the way the vehicle drives. Moreover, it can lead to a tire blowout, making the trucker lose full control of the rig and, in most cases, resulting in a serious accident.
- Rollovers: The major cause of most rollover accidents is also a cargo-loading error. The overloading or incorrect loading can result in a rollover accident. When a load of the truck is too heavy or too high, the risk of an accident increases.
There are exact size, weight, height, width, and length limits every driver should know about cargo loading. Moreover, there are certain techniques for securing cargo for different types of transportation. If you’re going to haul the materials, which might easily fly away like sand or scrap metal, it’s critically important to tarp your load properly. Always make sure your load is well distributed and secured over the axles before you start driving. This will help you avoid a lot of problems, including an accident, down the road.
- Poor vehicle maintenance and mechanical failures
Driving thousands of miles daily, commercial trucks require strong vehicle maintenance. Trucking maintenance crews, drivers, and overall trucking companies should maintain the fleet on a regular basis in order to keep up with the massive wear and tear trucks take. Many equipment failures, including a cracked windshield or worn brake pads, can result in a complex traffic accident.
In some cases, truck accidents occur as certain parts stop operating the way they must operate. For instance, a tire blowout might make a truck roll over or run off of the road. The truck’s bad brakes can trigger a terrible override accident, as a driver isn’t able to stop the truck.
It’s important to identify any mechanical failures before driving. In most cases, it’s the responsibility of a driver to check the rig and create a truck maintenance report. Any problems and failures must be fixed right away. Mechanical failures are preventable, but sometimes are either unnoticeable or ignored.
- Chronic fatigue of a truck driver
Chronic fatigue isn’t a joke, especially if you’re a driver. When a driver is chronically fatigued, they might be unable to notice any mechanical failures. Moreover, they might have difficulty staying alert and might fall asleep while driving. Truck drivers have to drive thousands of miles and sometimes they don’t have time for sleep or even a nap. Some drivers have so strict deadlines that they have little to no times for food, as well. These factors lead to chronic exhaustion and multiple health issues.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, about 4,000 truck drivers die in accidents annually, and chronic fatigue is the major culprit in those accidents. Providing truck drivers with an opportunity to relax, have three main meals of the day, and get enough sleep (preferably in a hostel or hotel room) will help to reduce the risk of an accident.
- Driving at a high speed
Although this point relates to the first point, it deserves a bigger attention. Generally, because of strict deadlines and limits, truck drivers increase the speed to transport the cargo on time. Some drivers drive at a higher speed to have more time for sleep while others have fun when driving fast. Anyway, it’s important to remember that driving at a high speed is dangerous and can lead to accidents.
There are certain safe driving tips to follow in order to prevent common truck accidents. Depending on the weather conditions, ensure you adjust your speed to as safer level as possible. Unlike cars, trucks are harder to stop on the go – even if your truck has the best breaks. It’s critical to be particularly careful in the towns and cities where it’s easy to be involved in a serious truck accident.
That’s your complete online guide to common truck accident causes that will help you remind yourself of possible risks on the road. Make sure you avoid making the mistakes mentioned above and check your vehicle twice before you take the wheel. Most importantly, make sure you get enough sleep and eat well, too. There are truck accidents that happen because of drivers’ diseases or conditions, such as heart attack or blood pressure spikes. It’s always best to prevent an accident than deal with its consequences, which sometimes can be fatal.