Being involved in a truck accident can be incredibly scary, especially given the fact that so many of them cause serious harm to those people involved and in some cases even cause deaths. The reason why they are so dangerous is because of the sheer size and scale of them, with the very biggest 18 wheelers weighing up to as much as 30,000 pounds.
A typical car weighs around just 4,000 pounds so it really does have very little chance if involved in a collision with a large truck that is travelling at speed.
Apart from the difference in weight, whereas a truck driver sits high up in their cab, car drivers are situated much lower to the ground, meaning that when a truck hits a car, the damage caused is highly significant.
The vast majority of accidents on the roads involving trucks occur as a result of driver error – either the truck driver, the car driver, or both. With it being driver error it means that that they are actually preventable should the correct preventative measures be taken.
Some of the most common forms of driver error that lead to truck accidents all across the United States of America are listed below.
Tiredness / Fatigue
Anyone involved in the commercial driving industry will be able to tell you just how high pressure it is. It is often the case that drivers are required by the companies that they work for to drive long distances to very short time scales, meaning that they have very little time, if any at all, to stop and take a break.
Through feeling tired and/or fatigued, drivers can easily begin to start losing coordination and concentration when behind the wheel, and as a result their ability to react to changing conditions on the road ahead of them becomes seriously impaired. In addition to this, they also run the risk of actually nodding off and falling to sleep whilst operating their vehicle.
For this very reason and in order to prevent truck accidents from happening in the first place, there are actually a range of different laws in place that relate to how many hours and how many breaks a truck driver must have within a certain period of time.
That being said, there are numerous trucking companies out there that because of the pressure that they are under to deliver goods on time, often have their drivers flouting these rules.
A distracted driver is much more of an issue on local roads rather than on long, straight interstate highways. When and where a truck driver is distracted, their attention is being taken away from the task at hand of operating their vehicle.
When driving for long stretches at a time, driving a truck can soon become very boring. This is especially true whilst driving along country roads in the middle of nowhere, where you cannot even get any radio signal to play music or listen to people chat. This can lead to a driver taking the risk of sending a text message or using their cell phone in some other way, such as looking at photographs.
Eating or doing anything else to keep themselves occupied whilst driving also poses a risk of distracting their attention away from the road. Even where there is a radio signal, playing around with the radio to find the channel that you want to listen to is distracting enough to cause an accident.
Drugs & Alcohol
It comes as a surprise to most people that within the world of trucking there is in fact a very high rate of drug and alcohol abuse amongst drivers. In order to stay awake for long stretches at a time, some truck drivers turn to using cocaine and/or amphetamines.
Overtaking & Speeding
It is sometimes the case that a truck driver is simply unable to get the goods that they are delivering to their destination on time. Because of the pressure that drivers are under to meet all of their deadlines they are sometimes forced to drive faster than what they should be given the size of the vehicle and the road conditions. These may see the driver right up the back of a car also driving along the same stretch of road.
For anyone who has ever looked into their mirror and seen a huge truck right behind them, it can be a daunting experience. Most often than not, you do whatever you can to get out of the way of it. This can lead to you swerving in the road and taking unnecessary risks that may result in an accident.
Poor Maintenance & Training
Each and every commercial vehicle that goes out onto the open road is required under law to be fully inspected to ensure that it is road-worthy and safe.
However, more often than not this does not happen and so means some trucks are on the road when they clearly should not be. This is because there are costs associated with performing the required checks and maintenance and whilst this is being done it means that the vehicle is off of the road and not earning money for the trucking company.
If a truck driver is not fully trained on how to drive their vehicle in certain weather conditions, including ones such as heavy snow, which makes driving that much more difficult, it can put other drivers on the road at an increased risk. Should the truck start to jackknife, hydroplane, or skid, it is important that the driver is fully trained to correct these situations or how to minimize their effects so that an accident does not happen.
If you have been involved in an accident with a truck and you believe that the driver was at fault then you should find yourself a semi truck accident attorney and make a claim against the company. Doing this will ensure that you get compensated for the physical and emotional harm experienced as a result of the accident.