In recent years, many states have enacted stricter laws against distracted driving. This is a good thing, as it helps reduce the number of accidents caused by drivers not paying attention to the road. As per records, 4,714 people died in truck accidents in 2021. This number can be brought down with the help of stricter laws.
However, just laws won’t help much; it is vital to understand the common causes of truck accidents so that you can make efforts to prevent them. If you or someone close to you was involved in an accident with a commercial vehicle like a tractor-trailer or 18-wheeler, then this article should help shed some light on what happened and why it happened so that you can make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Jackknifing is a truck accident that occurs when the trailer of semi-truck swings into the opposite lane and collides with other vehicles. It can happen for many reasons, but most often, it’s caused by improper loading or unsecured cargo.
Knowing how to avoid jackknifing is essential before driving down the road in your vehicle. Here are some tips:
- Avoid driving under too much pressure. It’s better to take it slow than risk losing control of your rig.
- Ensure all your equipment is secure and adequately stowed before heading out on long journeys. Don’t overload yourself with unnecessary cargo if there isn’t enough room for everything else on board.
Distracted driving is a growing concern for truck drivers. While it might seem innocuous, texting or talking on the phone while driving can lead to catastrophic consequences. There are also other types of distractions, such as eating, drinking, or reading.
Distractions include radio adjustments, adjusting GPS, engaging in other activities like reading maps, etc. It’s important because they’re dangerous and illegal under most circumstances unless you have an emergency where your life depends upon doing something else besides paying attention while operating your vehicle.
Since it is illegal, you can also file a lawsuit if other drivers’ distractions caused the accident. You can hire a local attorney to represent you in the legal process. For instance, a multi-vehicle accident recently occurred in St. Louis. The accident involved two police cars and a semi-truck, which left 3 officers injured.
In such a case, it is best to hire a local St. Louis truck accident lawyer because he or she will have the proper knowledge of the rules and regulations of that particular state.
The most common cause of truck accidents is excessive speed or aggressive driving. Speed limits are not arbitrarily set but based on the road’s design and surrounding environment. For example, a highway with no curves or intersections may have higher speed limits than one that passes through residential areas or near schools.
These laws aim to keep everyone safe by ensuring that drivers travel at appropriate speeds for conditions so they can react appropriately if something unexpected happens in front of them. However, the government also understands that speeding is required in some places. Hence, the Senate has passed a new bill that sets the speed limit for trucks at 70 miles per hour and allows them to overtake cars.
If you’re driving too fast, you won’t have time to react appropriately when something unexpected happens. This could lead to an accident involving other people’s property damage or even injury/death. Hence, it is essential to avoid excessive speeding.
Another common cause of truck accidents is driver fatigue. Driver fatigue is a severe issue for truck drivers because they often work long hours. However, they are also allowed to rest appropriately. According to TorHoerman Law, truck drivers must abide by a strict schedule that allows a good amount of rest.
But failing to stick to the schedule and lack of rest can cause fatigue. When you’re tired, your reaction time slows down, which leads to poor decision-making and dangerous driving.
To prevent this type of accident from happening on the roadways, you must get enough sleep every night before going out on the highways again. Additionally, you should also:
- Have a good diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables
- Exercise regularly so that you keep in shape physically as well as mentally
- Avoid alcohol consumption while driving
- Take frequent breaks when going to avoid becoming too tired during long trips across state lines or international borders.
There can be several mechanical failures that can lead to truck accidents, some of them being:
- Tires: Tire problems are common causes of truck accidents. Tiring is one of the most essential parts of your vehicle because it connects you to the road. If your tires are cracked or worn out, this can cause a loss of control at high speeds and lead to an accident.
- Brakes: If a brake pedal feels soft or spongy when pressed down, this may indicate that there is air trapped in your brake lines, a problem that should be fixed immediately by a professional mechanic before driving again.
- Fuel system: Your fuel tank should be checked regularly for leaks and cracks. If you notice any damage or leakage under your vehicle’s hood, repair it immediately before driving again.
- Engine: An engine that makes strange noises while idling could indicate a problem with its timing belt or other moving parts inside. If this happens while driving on the highway at high speeds, it could lead directly to an accident if not addressed immediately by hiring professionals who know what they’re doing when dealing with these situations.
Driving Under the Influence
Driving under the influence (DUI) can be extremely dangerous, leading to numerous vehicle accidents. In fact, data from CDC shows that one death occurs every 45 minutes due to an alcohol-impaired driver in the US.
Truck accidents involving DUI can be hazardous due to the size and weight of commercial trucks. When truck drivers are impaired, their reaction time, judgment, coordination, and overall driving skills are compromised, making it difficult to maneuver such a massive vehicle safely.
The consequences of DUI truck accidents can be catastrophic. Due to their size and weight, trucks can cause extensive damage to other vehicles and infrastructure and result in severe injuries or fatalities. Additionally, truck accidents often lead to significant traffic disruptions, delays, and economic costs.
Environmental factors can also play a role in truck accidents. Weather and road conditions, for example, can significantly impact how safely you drive your vehicle. If the roads are wet or icy, you must slow down and avoid sudden movements that could cause you to lose control of your truck.
Likewise, heavy rain falls from the sky, and visibility is poor due to fog or haze. In that case, you should be extra cautious about following other vehicles too closely so they don’t run into yours from behind without warning.
Besides the weather, the infrastructure of the roads also plays a vital role in truck accidents. Some highways are more accident-prone than others because of how they are built. This can be because of the number of curves on the road. For instance, the U.S. Highway 2 in Montana has recorded the highest number of accidents.
With so many factors at play in truck accidents, drivers must take the time to understand them and educate themselves on how to avoid them. If you are involved in an accident with a commercial vehicle, you must seek medical attention immediately.
You may also want to contact an attorney specializing in trucking accidents so they can help guide you through recovering damages from the other party involved in causing this incident.