The Most Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Driving a car has its own set of risk factors and cautions. Driving a commercial truck, particularly an 18-wheeler, is fraught with potential dangers. While commercial drivers undergo specialized training and receive a specific type of driver’s license, unfortunately, not all drivers adhere to the rules and regulations that go along with that training. When operators fail to comply with stipulated safeguards, catastrophic truck accidents can occur. These are some of the common causes of truck accidents in the US.
Size and Weight
These behemoth trucks are inherently dangerous due to a number of contributing factors. These factors include their sheer size, the inability to see around them, and their weight. Did you know that commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) can weigh as much as 40 tons? That’s 80,000 pounds of vehicle weight. In a collision, most passenger cars don’t stand a chance against that size and girth.
The extreme weight of a semi, 18-wheeler, or other commercial vehicle can lead to cataclysmic damage. A commercial truck accident involving cars or pedestrians can cause extensive damage and death. Physical damage, destruction of property, and loss of life might occur as the result of a collision with a CMV.
Truckers have significantly larger blind spots than passenger vehicles and SUVs. When a car is caught in the blind spot of one of these CMVs, they simply cannot be seen. There are three major blind spots on most 18 wheelers.
- A CMV has a large blind spot directly in front of it. Cars sharing the truck’s lane cannot be seen due in part to the height of the truck, and the vantage point of the driver.
- A CMV has a blind spot on either side. That particular blind spot might encompass several lanes of traffic.
- A CMV has a blind spot directly behind it. A car traveling in the same lane as a truck is unlikely to be noticed.
Drivers of non-commercial vehicles should avoid traveling in these blind spots. Tailgating is never a good idea. Tailgating behind a big rig, though, carries an even bigger risk. The truck driver cannot see you due to the height of his truck. You cannot see around him for the same reason, making it impossible for you to know when to slow or stop your vehicle.
Truck drivers travel long distances over many days and hours. Driver fatigue, then, is a frequent contributor to truck accidents. Like everyday drivers, truck drivers might also get distracted while driving. The text messages, phone calls, and food and beverages that draw attention away from passenger vehicles drivers also distract truck drivers. Distracted truck drivers, though, pose a much greater threat because of the size of their vehicle.
Pressure To Perform
Because truck drivers deliver goods and products, they are often under tight deadlines. These deadlines can become a contributing factor in many accidents. A trucker’s employer might set unrealistic deadlines that lead to drivers staying on the road far past the designated number of hours deemed safe for travel and optimal alertness. Pressure to deliver within a pre-determined timeline is a major contributor to driver fatigue.
Jackknifing and Chain Reactions
The phenomenon of jackknifing can create utter disaster for trucks and any nearby vehicles. Jackknifing occurs when the rear tires of a truck lock in position, making it impossible for the truck to operate. This typically happens when a driver brakes too abruptly. The wheels lock and the rear end of the truck spins toward the front end. In other words, the truck folds in much the same manner as a jackknife or pocket knife. When that happens it frequently leaves no room or time for other vehicles to stop. Jackknifing may also cause pileups causing the number of vehicles involved in the truck accident to skyrocket.
Other Forms of Negligence and Recklessness That Lead To Truck Accidents
- Cargo shift
- Faulty tires
- Faulty brakes
- Alcohol intoxication
- Illegal traffic maneuvers
- Inattention to potential hazards
- Over-the-counter or illegal drug use
- Traveling too fast for road conditions
Did you know that truckers are cited for driving too fast for conditions nearly 50% more often than other drivers? No matter which of the above factors led to a truck accident involving you and a CMV, you are entitled to complete compensation. An attorney familiar with truck accident litigation knows how to maximize that compensation and ensure sure you receive every cent you’re owed.
If you’ve been the victim of a truck accident, call Larby & Associates today at (918) 796-5780. We make sure you receive payment for every aspect and facet of your claim. That includes lost wages, hospital and other medical bills, ongoing medical care, and pain and suffering. You case couldn’t be in better hands than ours.