Any type of road accident is dangerous, and it gets worse when a large truck is involved.
In the U.S., over 38,000 people die every year as a result of road accidents. In all this, trucks are only 4% of the 268 million vehicles on U.S. roads, yet they are involved in about 10% of fatal accidents. In 2019 the U.S. recorded 5,005 fatal truck accidents, a 2% increase from what it was in 2018.
Common Causes Of Trucking Accidents
These are five of the most common causes of truck accidents.
This is the most common cause of truck accidents, and it is often overlooked by drivers. Truck drivers mostly have to drive long distances with little or no rest in between. These drivers get little sleep and eat before they have to get on the road again. The fatigue makes them lose concentration, alertness, and they may even fall asleep while driving.
2. Driving Under The Influence
Truck drivers are often found guilty of being under the influence of alcohol or drugs while on the job. They may stop during their drives to take these substances or even worse, carry them while driving. This is one of the common causes of trucking accidents in California, and no matter how careful they are, their driving ends up impaired because of these substances.
3. Poorly Trained Truck Drivers And Poor Truck Maintenance
Truck drivers always have to undergo a series of training before they are allowed to drive huge commercial vehicles on public roads. They are expected to meet some set minimum requirements. But not all truck drivers follow this protocol, which translates to an underqualified and inexperienced driver handling the wheel.
Also, truck owners are required by law to have maintenance measures that will keep their trucks in superb condition before they hit public roads. The combination of an undertrained truck driver and a poorly maintained truck is another major cause of truck accidents.
Truck drivers are given targets by the truck owners to reach their destinations at a set time. This may not be achievable sometimes for different reasons like poor traffic or bad weather conditions. Truck drivers are usually under pressure to meet deadlines to avoid being sanctioned by the truck owner, and so they don’t lose their job. So they often resort to overspeeding, which usually turns out to be dangerous and fatal for both the stuck driver and other road users. An overspeeding 80,000 truck overtaking a car can easily make the car veer off the road resulting in crashes that may be fatal.
5. Distracted Drivers
A truck may get bored while driving over long distances. They usually find something to engage with at that point as a means to pass the time. These include using their phones to read texts or visit social media; this is the most common form of distraction for these drivers. Other times, they could be occupied with changing the truck radio station. This is a primary cause of truck accidents because alertness and concentration are vital for maintaining safety and preventing accidents while driving.
Now that we have known these five common causes of truck accidents, let’s talk about some general safety tips.
Important Safety Tips For Commercial Truck Drivers
- Take Breaks During Your Drives: truck drivers need frequent breaks to rest and exercise. They need this to maintain alertness while driving, plus it is important for the driver’s health generally.
- Keep Well-maintained Weather And Terrain-related Tools And Equipment: you need to have special weather and terrain equipment and tools with you during your driving, in case of any weather or terrain-related emergencies.
- Keep The Weather In Mind: drive according to the weather. If you usually drive at 60mph when it’s not raining, know that you have to reduce the speed to maybe 30mph when it is raining. Braking becomes difficult when it’s raining and the road is wet, and during winter when there’s snow on the road.
- Rest Well Before Driving: truck driving safety doesn’t start or end on the road while driving. The most vital safety measure for truck drivers is off the road. So, make sure you get enough sleep, rest before getting on the road.
- Always Signal And Don’t Change Lanes Too Often: trucks have major blind spots that even the most experienced drivers may be blind to. Your signal lights tell oncoming vehicles what you are about to do and so they can react appropriately.
- Give Enough Space Between You And Other Vehicles: you need to leave enough space between your truck and other vehicles on the road while driving to prevent collisions. Trucks take a long time to come to a total stop. Ensuring enough distance from the next vehicle helps the truck stop in time to prevent a collision.
- Get Some Online Practice: Although it is no replacement for hands on truck driving practice, it won’t hurt to play some free truck games to get you started.
Truck safety typically involves a series of actions, from the truck driver, truck owners, etc. It includes your different life decisions generally, like your sleeping culture, rest, and so on. You can either decide to DUI and risk your life and other road users’ or drive with a sound mind without intoxication.
Adhere to these safety tips and make the right decision always to protect you and other road users.