Common Causes of Truck Accidents and How to Avoid Them
Consequences can be severe when commercial vehicles, particularly 18-wheelers, are involved. This type of collision often results in catastrophic injuries or even fatalities. If you become a victim, contacting a truck wreck attorney in Texas is best.
While you can’t foresee when a truck accident will occur, you can reduce the likelihood by learning how they happen and what to do to prevent them. Here are some common causes of truck collisions and some helpful preventive measures:
- Fatigued Drivers
Driver fatigue is a common cause of commercial truck accidents. Long hours on the road and inconsistent sleep schedules can lead drivers to become tired and less alert, increasing the risk of accidents.
To avoid a truck accident, drivers should have quality sleep and regular rest periods between driving. Employers must also support their drivers in following these regulations to ensure the safety of everyone on the road. As a driver, be cautious when driving alongside commercial vehicles. If you suspect a truck driver is fatigued, give them plenty of space and report it to the appropriate authorities.
- Distracted Driving
Distracted driving is a problem for all motorists, but it poses an even greater risk when it involves truck drivers. The size and momentum behind a truck magnify the consequences of a distracted driving incident.
Engaging in activities such as texting, talking on the phone, eating, or even reading while driving can significantly impair a driver’s focus and reaction time. To avoid accidents caused by distracted drivers, always maintain a safe distance from trucks and be alert for any signs of erratic behavior. Focus on the road and avoid distractions that can compromise your safety.
Speeding is a significant factor in truck accidents, making it difficult for drivers to react to unexpected situations. Due to the weight and cargo of commercial trucks, it requires longer stopping distances, which may not be possible at high speeds. Because of this, truck drivers must observe the correct speed limits to reduce the risk of accidents and promote road safety.
- Driving Under the Influence
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs significantly impairs judgment and reaction time on the road, making accidents more likely. Commercial truck drivers must strictly adhere to regulations prohibiting the use of alcohol or drugs while operating vehicles. By staying sober and alert, truck drivers can ensure their safety and the safety of others on the road.
- Inexperienced Drivers
Compared to driving a regular car, a commercial vehicle requires more extensive knowledge and experience. That said, a truck driver lacking the proper skills and training to handle unexpected situations on the road can increase the likelihood of accidents. Adequate training programs and mentorship for new truck drivers can help them develop the necessary skills and experience to navigate the roads safely.
- Work Zone Hazards
Collisions in work zones are alarmingly common, with a significant number involving large trucks. Work zones often have frequent stops and starts, narrow lanes, and other hazards that make maneuvering difficult for trucks. So, it’s crucial to be attentive when approaching these areas.
Maintain a safe following distance and anticipate sudden stops or lane changes from trucks when entering work zones. Adhere to the speed limits and allow trucks the space and time they need to navigate these areas safely to prevent collisions.
- Poor Weather Conditions
Dealing with inclement weather conditions can be challenging for commercial truck drivers. Rain, snow, and ice reduce visibility and make the road surface slippery, increasing the risk of a truck accident.
Truck drivers should adjust their driving behavior based on the prevailing weather conditions. Slowing down, maintaining a safe distance from other vehicles, and using appropriate lights and signals are crucial to ensure safety during adverse weather.
- Failure to Obey Traffic Laws
Failure to obey traffic laws is a common cause of commercial truck accidents. Disregarding red lights and stop signs, failing to yield the right of way, and speeding in construction zones create hazardous situations on the road. Strict adherence to traffic laws can significantly reduce the risk of accidents and promote a safer driving environment for everyone.
- Poor Vehicle Maintenance
Trucks spend extensive time on the road, accumulating a considerable number of miles. This makes proper vehicle maintenance crucial to avoid accidents. However, maintenance responsibilities sometimes fall through the cracks, leading to hazardous conditions. For example, worn tires can result in blowouts, causing trucks to lose control or stop abruptly in unsafe conditions.
As a truck driver, it’s essential to prioritize regular maintenance checks and address any potential issues promptly. For other drivers, maintaining a safe distance from trucks can mitigate the risk of being involved in an accident caused by poor vehicle maintenance.
Tips to Avoid Truck Accidents
While the responsibility to prevent truck collisions primarily lies with the drivers, all motorists play a role in creating a safe driving environment. Here are some general tips to help avoid a truck accident:
1. Always remain visible
Trucks have larger blind spots, so ensure you can see the driver in their side mirror before attempting to pass. Be cautious if a truck is signaling a lane change while you’re beside them. When in doubt, assume the driver can’t see you and adjust your driving accordingly.
2. Avoid tailgating
Following a truck too closely not only impairs your visibility, but also increases the risk of rear-ending the truck when it slows down. Remember to leave enough space and be mindful of crucial road signs that may be obscured by the vehicle.
3. Pass trucks cautiously
When passing a truck, pay close attention to their movements and try to make eye contact with the driver through their sideview mirror. Avoid passing on the right side, as trucks often use the right lane and may move into it quickly. Execute the maneuver swiftly but safely.
4. Be patient
Due to their size and momentum, trucks require more time to accelerate and decelerate. It’s essential to exercise patience and give these vehicles the time and space they need to maneuver.
Contact Frenkel & Frenkel Today!
Truck accidents can have devastating consequences. But you can reduce the risk of such incidents by understanding the common causes and following preventive measures.
If you or your loved one become a truck accident victim, it’s crucial to have a reliable legal team by your side. Frenkel & Frenkel in Dallas, TX specializes in motor accident cases and has a proven track record of achieving positive outcomes for their clients. Contact us today to learn more about a truck accident lawsuit and our other legal services.