While any car accident has the potential to result in serious consequences, crashes involving tractor-trailers are often catastrophic. When a commercial vehicle collides with a smaller passengers vehicle, life-changing injuries and fatalities are a real possibility. There are a number of steps truck drivers, trucking companies, and other drivers can take to reduce the number of devastating accidents. The first step involves understanding why the wrecks happen in the first place.
Accident Causes Related to the Truck Driver
The majority of big rig accidents are the result of human error. Once the victims realize the accident was preventable, this can make it even more difficult to recover. The most common negligent trucker behaviors are discussed below.
With a trucker shortage happening all over the country, currently employed trucker drivers are being tasked with making delivers on tighter deadlines. Even with the government regulations in place that establish how long they can be on the road, some truck drivers ignore those laws and stay behind the wheel for long periods of time.
A drowsy driver can be just as dangerous as drunk driving because the driver’s ability to comprehend their surroundings and make smart decisions is compromised. Truckers risk running off the road, swerving, and strike the vehicles traveling around them.
With cell phones and navigational systems, all drivers have a responsibility to ignore and avoid distractions behind the wheel. Truckers are often plagued with even more distractions because they may need to take phone calls related to their deliveries, update their GPS system if their route changes, or feel compelled to eat while driving because of their schedule. Regardless, there’s never any excuse to drive distracted.
Speeding, aggressive driving, and improper merging are incredibly dangerous behaviors, especially when operating a large commercial vehicle. Truckers may want to speed to get to their destination faster, but they put others’ lives at risk when they do. Getting frustrated behind the wheel and swerving between lanes or merging recklessly can also lead to an accident.
Blind Spot Unawareness
Tractor-trailers have blind spots on all four sides. Truckers need to be aware of the vehicles traveling around them. Underride, override, and sideswipe accidents are a real possibility when truck drivers aren’t paying attention to those nearby. It’s also crucial for drivers in smaller vehicles to be aware of the blind spots, as all drivers can take actions to prevent blind spot collisions.
Crash Causes Related to the Truck or Road Conditions
When a commercial vehicle or road is poorly maintained, the likelihood of an accident is just as high as when a trucker is negligent behind the wheel. The most common truck or road-related accident causes including the following:
Poor Vehicle Maintenance
Trucking companies and truck drivers are supposed to regularly maintain their vehicles. Commercial trucks pile on miles quickly because of how far and how often they’re traveled, so it’s important for everything to be looked over. This includes checking and changing the oil, checking the radiator, looking for flaws with the electrical systems, making sure the brakes function properly, and ensuring the tire pressure is adequate. Neglecting any part of proper maintenance can result in an event that is out of the driver’s control.
Improper Cargo Loading
Truck cargo weight limits vary by state, so it’s crucial for truckers to be aware of the laws while traveling. In South Carolina, the weight limits vary depending on the size of the truck and the type of road. When a vehicle is improperly loaded, the risk of an accident increases significantly. If a truck is too heavy or even too light, the center of gravity may be off, which can result in the vehicle rolling over. Depending on the cargo being carried, other vehicles could get hit or drivers could lose control. The situation could become even more dangerous if the truck is hauling hazardous or toxic materials.
When snow, ice, rain, sleet, or fog are present, all drivers need to be aware of the road conditions and slow down. Driving faster than conditions allow is always dangerous. When a tractor-trailer does it, they risk causing a serious accident. A high number of multi-vehicle pile-ups occur in the winter and involve large commercial vehicles.
Recognizing why truck accidents happen is only a small part in contributing to their prevention. Tractor trailer accidents will still happen, and victims deserve legal representation they can count on. Contact our lawyers today to learn about how we can help you and your family.