Trucks remain one of the most common methods of transportation of goods in the United States. From hazardous materials to vehicles to perishable items, truck drivers are responsible for hauling all kinds of things we depend on.
That being said, passenger cars and other vehicles can count on sharing the roads with truck drivers for a long time to come. Likewise, it’s critical to be aware of the common ways that truck accidents happen, how to avoid accidents, and ways to practice safe driving.
Some trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds in comparison to a standard full-size passenger vehicle which weighs an average of 4,000 pounds. The variance in weight and size between trucks and passenger vehicles makes accidents between them especially dangerous and often catastrophic for the drivers and passengers involved. Truck crash injuries and damages can be extensive, and fatalities are more likely to occur than in crashes involving only passenger cars.
Like all drivers, truck drivers have a duty to take the appropriate steps to make sure their vehicle is in proper working condition. There are so many parts that make up trucks. Not to mention, some trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. A vehicle of this size and weight is certain to require frequent proper vehicle maintenance.
It’s important to regularly inspect and maintain truck tires to prevent tire blowouts. This includes checking tire pressure, inspecting for wear and damage, and having the tires rotated and balanced. It’s also important to ensure that the tires are properly inflated and that the truck is not overloaded.
Commercial truck drivers should perform pre-inspections before and post-inspections after trips, and plan to fix any parts in need of repair. It’s in everyone’s best interest to repair any and all truck defects as they’re detected, no matter how big or how small.
In this age of GPS systems and multiple map apps available at our fingertips, planning out a road trip in advance might not seem to be too much of a big deal. On the contrary, planning out routes and stops is an important step for truck drivers to complete. Digital maps are impressive — reporting real time traffic and accidents, re-routing within seconds after a missed turn — but the average digital map system doesn’t account for details like height restrictions. Running into a situation where a trucker isn’t certain they could clear an underpass can potentially cause a major accident resulting in catastrophic injuries.
Additionally, knowing in advance where the weigh stations and truck stops are can help make the trip to the final destination a safe one.
Truck accidents due to driver fatigue is absolutely avoidable. Unfortunately, many truck drivers are under pressure to get on the road and make deadlines even if they are not well-rested. Being tired in general is unpleasant enough. Being tired while at the helm of an 80,000-pound box on wheels is not only unpleasant, but it’s a potential danger to the truck driver and to all other vehicles sharing the road.
If a truck driver is unable to manage proper control of their truck due to fatigue, this is likely to cause dangerous driver behavior such as delayed response times and decreased focus. A fatigued driver’s reflexes will suffer and a serious accident may occur.
Life on the road can make healthy eating a challenge. We have so many fast food options available on most routes making it really easy to become a habit of convenience. Why wouldn’t truck drivers simplify their meals and make the easy choice of fast food and greasy spoons along the way?
Junk food is filled with carbohydrates and sugar, the things that cause a spike in your blood sugar, followed by a sharp crash leaving you groggy and tired. Groggy and tired make for someone who needs a nap, not someone who is driving a commercial truck.
It’s easy and convenient to fall into unhealthy patterns when you’re frequently on the road. By planning ahead and packing healthy food or being aware of where you can buy healthy food along the way, a truck driver can be properly nourished, refreshed, and focused; an excellent practice for accident prevention.
Truck blind spots, also known as “no zones,” are areas around large commercial trucks where the driver has limited visibility. These areas include the front, sides, and rear of the truck, and can be dangerous for other drivers and passengers on the road.
A semi-truck driver should check these no zones several times a minute. They should always check their mirrors and turn their head to check the no zones before changing lanes or making a turn. Additionally, other motorists should be aware that semi trucks need more space to make turns, and should not try to pass them on the right side, as the right side blind spot is the largest of the truck.
When driving near a truck, it’s important for smaller vehicles to remember that the truck driver may not be able to see you, so you should always drive defensively and be prepared to brake or take other action if necessary.
Large trucks have longer stopping distances than cars due to their size and weight. This means that it takes a truck longer to come to a stop than a car, which can increase the risk of accidents.
To prevent truck accidents, truck drivers should be aware of their stopping distances and always leave plenty of room between themselves and the vehicle ahead of them. Additionally, regular maintenance of the truck’s brakes can help to ensure that they are in good working condition.
Due to their large size and turning radius, trucks should always make wide turns carefully to prevent accidents or damage to the truck or surrounding property. This includes paying attention to traffic signals, signs, and road markings, as well as using proper signaling when turning. Additionally, it is important for truck drivers to always be aware of their surroundings, including other motorists, pedestrians, and obstacles, to ensure a safe turn.
Driving a truck at a safe speed is an important aspect of safe driving and avoiding a potential truck accident. It’s important to follow the speed limit and adjust your speed based on road conditions, bad weather, and traffic.
Driving too fast can increase the risk of a truck accident by making it more difficult to stop or maneuver the truck in an emergency situation. It can also lead to increased fuel consumption and wear and tear on the truck.
On the other hand, driving too slow can be a safety hazard as well, as it can impede the flow of traffic and cause other drivers to become frustrated and engage in dangerous maneuvers.
It’s also important to be aware of the truck’s weight and size, as larger and heavier vehicles require more time and space to stop and maneuver.
Distracted driving is a serious issue that can lead to accidents and serious injuries. To avoid distracted truck driving, truck drivers should:
Truck drivers should always use signals, such as turn signals and brake lights, when driving to communicate their intentions to other drivers on the road. This helps to prevent accidents and keeps the flow of traffic moving smoothly. Aside from the fact that using signals is a legal requirement in most states and can result in fines or penalties if not used properly, it’s good practice for the safety of the driver and other drivers on the road.
The most common injuries in truck accidents include head injuries, spinal cord injuries, broken bones, and internal injuries. Truck accidents can also result in severe burn injuries, amputations, and wrongful death. These types of injuries are often caused by the size and weight of the truck, as well as the high speeds at which they travel.
An attorney can help with a truck accident by representing the injured party in negotiations with the trucking company and its insurance carrier, investigating the accident to determine liability, and potentially filing a lawsuit to pursue compensation for the injured party’s damages. The truck accident attorney can also advise the injured party on their legal rights and options, handle all legal paperwork, and if a fair settlement can’t be reached with the responsible parties, the attorney will manage any court appearances.
If you were involved in a truck accident and need to know your legal options, contact Regan Zambri Long for a no obligation free consultation with our experienced truck accident lawyers.