Accidents involving commercial trucks can be incredibly dangerous, often leading to injury and death. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, approximately 415,000 crashes involving semi-trucks were reported to the police in 2015. Of those 415,000 crashes, 83,000 resulted in injury and 3,598 resulted in death.
We have already blogged about how to avoid being involved in a truck accident, but it’s important to also understand common causes of truck accidents to help prevent being in one.
List of Causes
- Truck drivers speeding or accelerating unsafely
It takes much longer for a semi-truck to stop than a smaller vehicle, making speeding especially dangerous.
- Fatigued truck drivers
Truck drivers often face tight schedules that may tempt them to sleep less or skip sleep altogether to reach their destination on time. Drowsy driving can dramatically increase a driver’s risk of crashing, according to an AAA report.
- Loading trucks improperly
When cargo is loaded incorrectly, the vehicle can become unstable and move unpredictably.
- Improper truck maintenance or repairs
Improper maintenance can lead to problems with a semi-truck’s brakes, tires, coupling devices, or other parts, which can cause an accident.
- Under-inflated truck tires
Under-inflated tires increase the risk of blowouts, which can cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle.
- Driving in a “no-zone”
Commercial trucks have large blind spots in the areas behind and beside the truck. Driving in one of these blind spots can cause an accident when the truck driver needs to change lanes or swerve to avoid some other danger. As stated in our earlier post, if “you can’t see the driver by looking in the truck’s side mirror, it’s likely that he or she can’t see your vehicle. Either slow down or move ahead to become visible to the driver and be exceptionally careful when merging near one of these vehicles as you very well may be in a dangerous blind spot.”
- Driving near a truck that is making a turn
Trucks need a lot of space when turning in either direction; “it isn’t unusual for a truck to need 55 feet to turn. So, they swing wide and may even start to turn from a middle lane, rather than the far-right lane that’s typical for average-sized vehicles.” Cars sometimes drive up to the truck as they swing out, causing an accident when the truck continues its turn. Allow trucks plenty of clearance.
- Improper merging or passing
As mentioned above, trucks take much longer to stop than smaller vehicles. Anything that forces a truck driver to brake quickly could lead to an accident, such as merging in front of a truck without giving enough headway. Give trucks more space than you would smaller vehicles. As stated in our previous post, “[i]t’s never recommended that you cut in too close to another vehicle when changing lanes, and this is especially true with larger ones.”
- Passing a truck on the right
The right side of a semi-truck is filled with blind spots. It is extremely difficult for a truck driver to see someone trying to pass on the right.
Need a Truck Accident Attorney?
Of course, truck accidents are still a possibility even if you do everything right. If you or a loved one has been involved in a crash, contact us. Our truck accident attorneys can conduct an investigation, examine driving logs, and navigate regulations to help you receive a truck accident settlement. Contact us to schedule a free case evaluation online or call us at:
- 803-324-7200 (Rock Hill attorneys)
- 803-289-7202 (Lancaster attorneys)
- 803-396-5200 (Fort Mill attorneys)