Trucks are essential to the efficient functioning of our economy, but they’re also responsible for more accidents than you might think. In 2020 alone, truck crashes claimed a total of 4,014 lives, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
Considering you can’t avoid trucks on the road, you must always be armed with skills and tactics to safely share the road with big rigs. One of the most effective ways to stay safe on busy truck routes is to understand the common causes of truck crashes.
Before we look at the causes of truck accidents, let’s first explore what you should do if you get involved in a truck accident.
Contact a Lawyer if Involved in a Truck Accident
Due to the severe nature of truck accidents, the damages suffered can add up to substantial figures in payouts. You can expect strong pushback from the trucking company lawyers or insurers whenever the payout is large.
Also, proving negligence in a truck accident is relatively different compared to other road accidents. For these reasons, you may want to work with an injury law firm like Dolman Law Group truck accident lawyers, which has a record of securing fair compensation for truck accident victims.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Speeding is dangerous irrespective of the vehicle you are operating. But it is more dangerous for trucks. Because of their weight, trucks can build up a lot of momentum. In case of an emergency, bringing it to a stop may not be as easy as it would be for an average car.
Unfortunately, accidents that happen at high speeds tend to turn out fatal. There is nothing much you can do about a speeding trucker. However, it would be best to look out for them and give them room to pass. If the driver is too reckless, you can pull over and call the police for action against the reckless truck driver.
- Poor Truck Maintenance
Truck owners are responsible for keeping their fleet maintenance up to date. If an accident occurred due to poor truck maintenance, they could be found grossly negligent for damages resulting from the accident, which can attract costly settlements.
With approximately 80,000 lbs on wheels, a minor mechanical problem such as failing brakes can turn out catastrophic. That’s why truck owners must keep track of a truck’s performance on a day-to-day basis and correct every minor malfunction to ensure that it is safe to be on the road.
- Fatigued Driving
Fatigued driving is a leading cause of truck accidents. Under federal laws, a truck driver is required to drive for no more than 11 hours at a time. Also, they are required to take no less than 10-hour breaks between shifts. The weekly limit for driving is 60 hours or 80 hours in 8 days.
If you are driving next to a truck, you must look for signs of fatigued driving such as erratic speeding and braking, swaying in and out of lane, and driving too slow for the posted limit. If you notice these signs, the best cause of action would be to give the driver a wide berth and overtake them when it is safe to do so. You may also consider notifying the police.
- Blind Spots
Trucks have blind spots all around them. If you are in a driver’s blind spot, their chances of taking an action that could expose you to danger are very high because they cannot see you.
The best rule of thumb when driving next to a truck is always make sure that you can see their rear-view mirrors.
If you cannot see their rear-view mirrors, there is a high chance they cannot see you. According to FMCSA, large truck’s blind spots can extend up to 20 feet in front of the truck, 30 feet in its rearm, one lane to the left, and two to the right at specific points.
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