Huge commercial trucks are responsible for some of the most horrific accidents on roads today. Statistics show that commercial trucks are responsible for approximately five hundred thousand road accidents each year. Five thousand of these accidents result in deaths. Road authorities have taken steps over the years to decrease the number of truck accidents and fatalities. However, accidents have decreased by a small amount. These are the top five causes of truck accidents.
1. Fatigue Truck
Fatigue from overworked truck drivers is the leading cause of truck accident deaths. Truck drivers drive long distances over many hours without stopping for rest. Truck company owners often demand that goods be delivered to specific destinations in a very short time. Truck drivers are often under pressure to meet deadlines. They are often tired and get very little sleep during the trip. They lose their concentration and coordination and can even end up falling asleep at the wheel from fatigue.
2. Inexperienced Drivers and Poor Truck Maintenance
Truck drivers have the same responsibility as other drivers on the roads. Truck drivers must have the appropriate certifications to operate the vehicle and must complete a minimum amount of training before driving large commercial vehicles on public roads. Inexperienced drivers might not know how to handle the vehicle properly or underestimate its power. Inexperienced truck drivers often cause trucking accidents.
Truck owners are also required by law to ensure that their trucks are in good condition before taking to the roads. They don’t usually do this because of the cost and time involved. This could mean they miss out on the opportunity to deliver. Truck accidents are often caused by badly maintained trucks and poorly trained drivers.
3. Distracted Drivers
Drivers who drive long distances for a lot of time often get bored and look for ways to distract themselves. They will do anything to get rid of boredom. Most people use their phones to read, reply, make phone calls, or visit their favorite social networking sites. Distracted drivers can also be caused by changing the car radio station while driving. This can lead to accidents. Some radio stations are not well-received in some areas of the country. Drivers are forced to reach for their radios to find a station that they can hear. Even if they’re driving fast on the freeway, this happens. A fraction of a second that a driver looks off the road can distinguish between safety or causing an accident.
4. Alcohol and Drug Use
Truck drivers are often found guilty of using non-medicinal and alcohol while on the job. While some truck drivers only use these substances while on the road, others carry alcohol and other drugs while driving. They can cause accidents regardless of how they use the substances.
Illegal drugs can cause accidents on the roads, but not just illegal drugs. Other prescription drugs drivers might be taking can also cause impairment in coordination and judgment, leading to accidents on the road.
5. Overspeeding and Overtaking
Truck owners often demand that truck drivers arrive at certain destinations within a specified time. It is often impossible to achieve this due to poor weather conditions or traffic jams on some roads. Drivers will drive faster than the limit due to their pressure to meet deadlines and the risk of losing their jobs. These big trucks can overtake smaller cars at breaking speeds, causing them to veer off of the road. This causes most fatal crashes. The effect of over-speeding is also to reduce reaction time. Drivers may need to stop suddenly or brake immediately when driving at high speeds. This is sometimes not possible at high speeds.
6. Failure to Obey Traffic Signals
Failure to obey traffic signals can be very dangerous, whether running red lights or not stopping at stop signs. Semi-trucks and large vehicles can make it very difficult for smaller passenger cars to pass through traffic signals.
Failure to follow traffic laws increases your chances of being involved in an accident due to the semi-trucks slower reaction time and longer stopping time. Traffic signals were put in place to prevent accidents when we obey them.
7. Improper Passing
The aggravation you feel when someone in front of your brakes turns right but doesn’t signal it is happening? Even worse is when someone in front of you chooses to drive into your lane without signaling. Imagine a 40-ton vehicle driving around your 3,500-pound car. This sounds pretty dangerous, right?!
In South Florida, semi-truck drivers are often unable to pass properly. This is a leading cause of many accidents. Between switching lanes in a no-pass zone or failing to indicate their passing, improper passing is just one of the reasons why 18-wheelers are dangerous.
8. Big Blind Spot
The average length for an 18-wheeler will vary depending on which type of cab it is driving. However, they typically measure between 70 to 80 feet in length. Semi-trucks are nearly 14 feet tall. This makes it easy to see why they have a larger blind spot than regular passenger cars.
Truck drivers have a responsibility to make sure they are aware of all the surrounding vehicles. However, the same applies to passengers on the road. Do not drive directly behind a truck and leave any space between your vehicle & the truck’s tail-end. If the truck can’t see you, it’s likely they can’t either.
9. Overloaded or Bad Condition Cargo
There is a limit on the cargo that trucks can carry, both weight and volume. The maximum weight allowed on federally funded highways is 80,000 pounds. Overloaded trucks can make it difficult to drive and increase the risk of an accident. Trucks carrying more weight than the limit can be at greater risk of an accident.
Also, improperly loaded cargo before leaving its original location could cause damage or an accident on the road.
10. Unfavorable Weather Conditions
Truck accidents are also common due to unpredictable weather conditions. Foggy weather can make it difficult for drivers to see, leading to trucks colliding with other vehicles. Rains can cause roads to slip, which increases accidents.
Truckers can lose control of their vehicle in bad weather conditions if they’re not trained properly. Because of the truck’s heavyweight and slow stopping speed, icy roads can be difficult to navigate. Truckers aren’t trained in braking techniques that will prevent skidding and jackknifing, leading to many accidents.