Truck Accidents – 8 Of The Most Common Causes

Truck accidents are a lot more infrequent than motor car accidents but are usually more catastrophic due to the size of the vehicle. Here are 8 of the most common causes of truck accidents.

Driver Fatigue

Truck drivers are required to travel very long distances and have tight schedules to deliver goods to a particular location within a strict time period. Often the driving takes place through the night so that deliveries will reach their destination in the early morning. Driving at night is mentally demanding as your body is fighting against its natural instinct to sleep when darkness falls. The roads are quieter, and fewer things are going on outside to keep a driver’s mind occupied. The long stretches of monotonous roads can induce boredom and make the driver sleepy.

Experts have discovered that Sleep-Related Vehicle Accidents (SRVAs) have a higher chance of causing severe injury or death to some or all those involved in the crash due to the reflexes of the driver being compromised by fatigue – they cannot step on their brakes quickly enough before the impact of the crash.

Driving Under The Influence

Intense work schedules and unsocial hours cause some truck drivers to turn to drugs to keep them awake on long journeys. Investigations have discovered that 30% of truck drivers in the USA have used amphetamines, and 50% have consumed alcohol while driving.

Driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol can severely impair a driver’s ability to judge distances, speed, have fast reflex reactions, stay alert and see clearly. The risk of having an accident is increased substantially if a driver chooses to drive their truck after consuming drugs or alcohol. At the very least, they are risking losing their job and costing their company huge amounts of money in compensation from truck accident settlements. At the very worst, they are risking losing their own and other driver’s lives.

Driver Distraction

Many accidents are caused by drivers losing concentration and becoming distracted by their cell phone, radio, or opening food packages and eating. They may also see something outside the truck that distracts them, causing them to take their eyes off the road in front. Hands-free cell phones can limit the risk of the driver being distracted, and rest stops at highway service stations should be mandatory to enable the driver to eat, sleep and go to the restroom.

Road And Weather Conditions

Defects on the road surface can cause a truck to jackknife, skid, or crash. Driving in heavy rain and snow can be very dangerous as the truck may skid and career into another vehicle or the central reservation of the highway. If the truck is high-sided, drivers must be cautious during extremely windy conditions, especially when crossing bridges, as the vehicle can be blown over.

Dangerous Cargo

If trucks are overloaded with cargo, and the total weight exceeds regulation limits, the vehicle will be extremely heavy, and the driver may struggle to control it. Cargo that has not been correctly packed and secured can be at risk of falling off the truck onto the road and causing a fatal crash.

Vehicle Failure

Not all crashes are caused by the driver. Faulty trucks are the cause of thousands of accidents across America’s highways.

Trucks must be checked regularly to ensure they are road-worthy. Tires should be inspected to ensure that the treads are not too worn. Brakes should be checked before every excursion as brake failure can be lethal. Trucks take a longer time than cars to come to a complete stop due to their size and weight – their brakes should be robust and efficient.

Before going on a journey, drivers should check that the mirrors on their truck are intact, the lights and indicators are working correctly, wiper blades are efficiently clearing the windscreen of debris and washing away dirt. The oil, water, and windscreen wash levels should also be checked and topped up if required.

Driver Training

Intense schedules and customer demand can sometimes cause a company to hire drivers lacking the required level of experience just so that they can increase their numbers and fulfill sales. Many road accidents are caused by truck drivers who have not had sufficient training.

Reckless Driving

Speeding is a significant cause of road accidents, especially in wet and icy weather conditions when the road surface becomes slippery. Overtaking can be a risk, too, as you may pull out in front of vehicles in your blind spot or cause the car you are overtaking to become unstable with the impact of your huge truck driving alongside them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.