The Top 10 Common Causes Of Truck Accidents – Avoid These Hazards on the Road
Taking a drive in a truck is great for many reasons: it allows for freedom on the open roads, and you can store large amounts of items for trips. But there are some hazards that truck drivers should either be aware of or avoid when on the road. Here we’ll discuss 10 common causes of truck accidents and how to avoid them on the open road.
Truck drivers are the professionals who literally drive America forward. So, understanding the hazards that can occur so that you and other drivers on the roads can stay safe is of the utmost importance. Whether you’re a truck driver or an individual who simply drives near large trucks, review this list of 10 common causes of truck accidents and ways to avoid them.
Distracted Truck Drivers
Distracted truck drivers are still a major cause of accidents involving trucks. In fact, over 20% of reported road deaths involve some kind of distraction. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drivers can become distracted in three main ways: visually (not watching the road), manually (taking their hands off the wheel), or cognitively (distractions related to thought or decision-making processes). Any of these types of distractions can prove deadly while an 80,000lbs truck is barreling down the highway at 65 mph.
Some claim that because technology has increased access to information that could potentially stop accidents from happening, our nation is now safer. For example, smartphones let us stay in touch all the time and warn us of possible danger. However, it should be noted that this same technology can also lead to dangerous behaviors such as texting and driving and other forms of driver distraction.
But these distractions come not only from external sources but from internal ones as well. In fact, fatigue often acts as a major source of distraction for many truckers who are merely trying to meet a delivery schedule. Fatigue has caused a lot of truck accidents over the years, especially when it is combined with long hours of work and sometimes dangerous conditions on rural roads.
Regardless of the cause, though, there is no doubt that driver distraction continues to play a key role in many trucks going off course. With this in mind, it’s important to focus on what we can do to better understand why drivers are being distracted, so that we can develop strategies to reduce their frequency in the future.
It is clear that more needs to be done to help reduce the prevalence of distractions among truck drivers on our roads. Even though it’s hard to say for sure why truck drivers are so easily distracted, it’s important that safety programs keep going to protect people’s lives. In any case, improving education regarding potential dangers may be key to curbing this common cause of deadly traffic collisions—unsafe lane changes and speeding.
- According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), commercial motor vehicle (CMV) driver fatigue is thought to be one of the most common causes of truck accidents, contributing to 13% of all truck crashes.
- The FMCSA also states that distracted driving is a factor in 10% of CMV-related fatal accidents.
- A study conducted in 2020 found that around 60% of all large truck crashes are associated with speeding.
Unsafe Lane Changes and Speeding
Unsafe lane changes and speeding are two additional causes of truck accidents that can prove to be especially dangerous on the road. Here are some insights into the challenges posed by unsafe lane changes and speeding for both truck drivers and all road users.
- Unsafe Lane Changes: Necessary to move around faster, but can become dangerous if rushed or improperly signaled.
- Speeding Concerns: Many drivers, including truckers, exceed speed limits, reducing reaction time and endangering others.
- Impact on Large Trucks: Large trucks are more affected by speeding because they are harder to move around
That said, it’s important for all truck drivers should always check their blind spots, use turn signals, be aware of vehicles in their proximity at all times during a lane change, and do their best to stick within the recommended speed limit to remain safe on the road. Transitioning from this topic, it’s also important for truck drivers to understand the consequences of speeding on the roadway as well as how excessive speed impacts safety measures that have been put into place.
Unfamiliar Cargo and Heavy Loads
In addition to the dangers that speeding presents on the road, truck drivers must also be aware of the risks posed by unfamiliar cargo and heavy loads. A bigger payload usually means more money for a shipping company, but these heavier loads also make it harder to move around and can make it take much longer for drivers to respond. The added weight can also reduce traction and increase wear and tear on the vehicle itself. Together, these effects make it harder for the driver to control the car, which makes accidents more likely.
Increasing the size of semi-trucks so they can carry more cargo is becoming more and more popular, but it can also make them harder to stop and less stable on the road. This can prove dangerous during sudden stops or lane changes. Studies have found that trucks with longer trailers are more likely to tip over during right-turns. Also, new truck drivers who are hauling cargo they don’t know much about might not know how certain weights change during a trip. This means they don’t know how to handle sudden acceleration or shifting.
Unfamiliar routes, too, can add risk to a trip, as truckers who are not familiar with the area may become distracted or disoriented due to having to focus on navigation rather than on their surroundings or their driving performance. You can’t say enough about the safety risks. It’s important for truckers to learn about their cargo and any potentially dangerous conditions they may face before they start driving.
Both truckers and shippers are responsible for making sure that strange cargo and heavy loads are safe. As a result, both should be aware of the national limits on carrying capacity and try to get goods to their destinations safely while still making enough money to meet their goals. By making plans ahead of time, doing regular maintenance checks on vehicles, making sure not to load too much into trailers, and giving semi-trucks high-tech safety features like back-up cameras and lane departure warning systems, operators can make sure the roads are safer and have more peace of mind while they drive.
Drivers can protect themselves and other people on the road from accidents that could have been avoided if they took the right safety precautions when hauling new or heavy cargo. In the same way, safe driving habits should always be kept in mind when driving in even the most familiar places. By knowing how seemingly small changes, like the force of an incline or climbing a steep hill, can have a big impact on driving performance, operators can ensure their own safety as they travel through different conditions on America’s highways. With a better understanding of how unfamiliar conditions could affect their trip, drivers will be better prepared to handle driving challenges they may face along their route. This will make the U.S. roads safer for everyone who uses them every day.
Unexperienced Truckers and Driver Fatigue
Two of the most common reasons for truck accidents are inexperienced drivers and tired drivers. Inexperienced truck drivers might not be able to predict how traffic will move or respond quickly enough to dangerous situations, which makes it more likely that an accident will happen. Driver fatigue has also been linked to a large number of accidents each year. This is because not getting enough restful sleep makes it harder to make decisions and react quickly. As a result, truck drivers need to take breaks when needed and ensure that optimal levels of rest are achieved before getting back on the road.
Proponents of this idea say that limiting the number of hours truckers can be on the road could cut down on the number of accidents caused by driver fatigue. Opponents, on the other hand, said that it could make it harder for goods to be delivered on time, which could hurt profits. Even though research on this topic is still going on, some studies have already shown convincing evidence in favor of shorter shifts. For example, multiple experiments have shown that people with longer periods of being awake have slower reaction times than those who have slept more recently. In 2017, CNN also reported on a study that revealed that drivers who were too tired or intoxicated were to blame for 413 of the 538 fatal crashes involving large trucks. These results show that taking steps to make sure truckers get enough rest can have a positive effect on road safety and shouldn’t be ignored.
In the end, it’s important for both truck drivers and their employers to know how important it is to only allow safe operating conditions on the roads. This includes giving drivers enough time to rest. By doing this, we can help cut down on accidents caused by both inexperience and tiredness, and we can also keep an eye out for any other things that could lead to a crash. In the next section, we will look at how various factors such as slippery roads or construction can play into the dynamic between driver and environment leading up to an accident.
Circumstance of the Accident
When trying to figure out what causes most truck accidents, it’s important to look at what happened. Various factors could contribute to an accident at the same time, depending on the situation. For example:
- Slippery roads due to rain or ice
- Low visibility due to smoke or fog
- Dangerous curves or sharp turns
- Sudden changes in speed limits
Even for experienced truck drivers, these situations can make driving dangerous, and they often lead to serious injuries or death.
The debate comes up when people talk about whether or not inexperienced truckers are more likely to be in truck accidents than experienced truckers because of the circumstances of the accident. On the one hand, new drivers are more likely to make mistakes that could put themselves and others in danger, like misreading signs or not preparing well enough for hard turns. On the other hand, experienced truckers have more experience dealing with adverse conditions on the roads, which could help them avoid potential crashes caused by accidents.
Evidence suggests that, while inexperience may increase the risk of truck accidents due to the circumstances of the accident, experience is not always enough to reliably reduce truck crash risks. For example, an Ohio State University study looked at 1,800 fatal truck crashes from 1992 to 2003 and found that nearly one-third of them were caused by tractor-trailer drivers who didn’t know how to drive in wet, icy, or slushy conditions because they hadn’t had enough training or knowledge about how to do so. This means that even experienced drivers need the right kind of training and instruction to be able to handle difficult road conditions.
In conclusion, the circumstances of an accident play a significant role in determining whether an inexperienced or experienced driver is involved in a crash. Due to their lack of experience and training, it may be harder for new drivers to handle bad road conditions in a safe way, but even experienced drivers need to take extra precautions and be aware of the challenges they will face when they do.
If you or a loved one have been involved in a truck accident, it’s important to seek legal help as soon as possible. Call (404) 902-6444 to set up a meeting with one of our experienced lawyers at Seay/Felton Trial LLC Lawyers. Our team can help you understand your rights and pursue the compensation you deserve. Don’t wait; call now to avoid these hazards on the road.