Accidents involving commercial trucks can have devastating results. This is mostly due to the fact that a semi-truck can weigh more than 30,000 pounds, while a passenger vehicle typically weighs only around 4,000 pounds. The following are some of the most common causes of commercial truck accidents and some practical ways for commercial truck drivers to prevent these kinds of accidents.
What are the Most Common Causes of Commercial Truck Accidents?
There are a few common causes of truck accidents, which include the following:
- Cars driving in the areas behind and beside a commercial truck where the truck driver has limited or zero visibility
- Cars changing lanes abruptly in front of a truck
- Cars maneuvering to the right of a truck that is making a right turn
- Cars misjudging an approaching truck’s speed at an intersection and making a left turn in front of the truck
- Cars merging improperly into traffic, causing a truck to maneuver or brake quickly
- Cars that fail to slow down or speed up when a truck begins to change lanes or merge
- Unsafe passing, particularly passing with insufficient headway
- Pulling into traffic from the roadside in front of a truck without accelerating sufficiently
- Abandoning a vehicle in a travel lane or failing to get a disabled vehicle completely off the highway and onto the shoulder
- Inadequate training regarding driving technique, safety concerns, and defensive driving
- Unrealistic schedules and expectations of trucking companies that encourage drivers to hurry, despite safety risks involved
How Can Commercial Truck Drivers Prevent Road Accidents?
Though all road accidents are not preventable, there are some practical ways that commercial truck drivers can prevent some road accidents:
- Make sure you are well-rested before getting on the road. Many accidents are caused by truck drivers driving while drowsy or fatigued. As such, you should make sure that you are well-rested before you begin to drive. If you begin to feel drowsy or fatigued while driving, make sure that you safely pull off the road to take some time to rest up before resuming your drive.
- Always watch your speed. You should always make sure that you adhere to all posted speed limits. This is crucial because trucks take a lot longer to slow down than cars do. This means that if you are driving over the speed limit and you notice a potential hazard, you will likely not be able to stop in time.
- Pay attention to changing weather conditions. Before getting on the road, check weather conditions. Additionally, make sure that you pay attention to changing weather conditions while on the road and that you adjust your speed accordingly.
- Frequently inspect your vehicle. Before getting on the road, you should make sure that your truck is properly maintained and inspected. You should also check your brakes and tires so that you do not experience any malfunctions while driving.
- Avoid distractions. While driving, you should always try to keep your distractions at a minimum. This means you should not use your cell phone, wear ear buds, or eat while you are driving.
- Use proper turn signals. It is important to use proper turn signals when changing lanes in order to give other vehicles behind you the opportunity and time to move out of the way.
- Drive defensively. You must always drive defensively. Driving defensively does not mean driving aggressively; rather, it means that you must watch out for other drivers who are not following the rules of the road and use extra caution.