A fully loaded truck can be up to 20 times heavier than a regular car. This means the occupants of a car have all the odds stacked against them in an accident involving a truck, making the chances of severe injuries or death relatively high.
Truck accidents stem from various causes, and identifying these causes can be the first step in keeping safe when driving on highways with high volumes of trucks. Below is a list of some common causes of truck accidents.
Truck drivers are always under constant pressure to meet deadlines. As a result, most drivers tend to stay long hours on the road leading to driver fatigue. At other times, the driver takes the required breaks but fails to give the body the much-needed rest, which can cause fatigue and drowsy driving.
Alcohol and Drug Impairment
Alcohol and operating a vehicle or any machine are a bad combination. For truckers, adding alcohol and drug impairments to an already fatigued driver is a recipe for disaster. Federal laws limit BAC for commercial vehicle drivers at 0.04%. Also, commercial vehicle drivers cannot get on the road within four hours of taking alcohol.
Poor Truck Maintenance
Trucking companies and owners are responsible for ensuring that their trucks are in the best working condition by conducting timely maintenance. While most truck owners maintain their trucks religiously, some allow poorly maintained cars on the road, which sometimes results in accidents.
Poor Cargo Loading
Cargo loading can increase the chances of a truck accident in several ways, for example, an imbalance that could cause the truck to topple. At other times the cargo could fall or spill out of the truck creating a hazard for other road users.
Reckless driving is any behavior on the road that exhibits a blatant disregard for traffic rules or the safety of other road users.
What to Look Out For When Sharing the Road with Trucks
- Erratic Braking and Acceleration
In most cases, a driver will accelerate or brake erratically when distracted, fatigued, or intoxicated. If you notice erratic driving, it’s best to keep your distance while you look for an opportunity to overtake.
- Drifting In And Out Of the Lane
Drifting in and out of your lane can also indicate drowsy driving, DUI, or distractions. If the truck ahead of you is swerving in and out of its lane, the best thing to do is to increase your following distance and only overtake when it’s safe.
- Falling Debris and Spills
Cargo flying or spilling out of a moving truck indicates poor loading. If you notice debris or spills coming out of a truck, it’s essential to be extra cautious when driving around it and notify relevant authorities for action.
What to Do After an Accident
You could do everything right to stay safe while on the road. Unfortunately, doing everything right may not guarantee you will be 100% safe. If a reckless truck driver causes an accident where you suffer damages, you may be eligible to collect compensation.
Your chance of recovering fair compensation depends on how you handle your case from the word go. The first step should be to get medical attention even when you may not think you have suffered significant injuries. So start with calling 911. After calling 911, try documenting the scene by taking pictures and video footage as part of your evidence collection.
If your injuries are too severe for scene documentation, you could ask someone to do it for you. No worries if you can’t; your lawyer will find other ways of building your case. So be sure to let trucking accident lawyers help you navigate the legal process of accessing compensation for damages suffered in a truck accident.
Trucks play a critical role in the US economy. But they also pose a significant risk to other road users. This guide highlights the leading cause of truck accidents and tips for staying safe while sharing the road with trucks.