What Causes Truck Accidents?

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Accidents involving large commercial trucks are often catastrophic, especially for the person in the passenger vehicle.

They can occur for several reasons in any type of weather.

But no matter what the cause, when the scenario involves a big rig and a small passenger car, the victims in the passenger car are incredibly vulnerable to catastrophic injury or death.

The main reason for this is that commercial trucks often weigh in excess of 30,000 pounds, while a passenger vehicle weighs about 4,000 pounds.

The passenger vehicle is no match for the 18-wheeler.

Aside from the sheer size of the truck, the driver of a large commercial truck is high off the ground while the drivers of passenger vehicles are much lower to the ground.

The best way to avoid an accident with semi-trucks is to drive defensively and pay attention to your surroundings.

Related post: How Can An Atlanta Truck Accident Attorney Help My Case?

Another way to avoid them is to know the common causes of them. In the article below, we will discuss the common causes of truck accidents so you can be prepared when you encounter an 18-wheeler.

Driver Fatigue

Driver error is a common cause of any type of accident, and when a driver is tired, they are much more likely to make errors.

Driving a truck is a very demanding, high-stress, high-pressure job.

Trucking companies expect their drivers to deliver their goods within a specific period of time.

That means many truck drivers drive for long hours with very little rest.

Sometimes the miles the truckers have to drive each day don’t leave enough time for quality sleep.

That leads to slower reaction times and a loss of coordination and concentration for the drivers.

That’s without mentioning their chances of actually falling asleep behind the wheel.

Fortunately, there are laws and trucking regulations in place that control how many hours a day a trucker can drive, how much sleep they need, and when they have to take rest breaks.

However, many companies and truck drivers don’t always follow these rules, making driver fatigue a considerable problem.

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Speeding and Overtaking

Since large trucking companies require their truckers to reach specific destinations in a certain amount of time, along with not sleeping, the truckers might also speed.

Things like poor weather conditions and heavy traffic can slow truckers down, so they do what they can to make up for lost time, and sometimes that means speeding.

It’s not ideal, but due to the pressure that the truckers are put under to meet their deadlines, so their jobs aren’t at risk, you can understand why they break the speed limit.

Being overtaken by these big trucks at high speeds can force oncoming drivers in smaller cars to veer off the road leading to sometimes fatal crashes.

Speeding also leads to a significantly reduced reaction time.

Commercial drivers may be required to break immediately or suddenly veer into another section of the road, but if they are driving at high speeds, this is not always possible.

Driving Under the Influence

It’s obviously illegal in every state to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. And in many states, commercial truck drivers are held to higher standards than the general public, and rightfully so.

Truck drivers should have very little alcohol in their system if they need to get behind the wheel.

This is because the sheer size and weight of the semi-truck make it an inherent danger to the public if the driver is intoxicated.

Truckers are held to a higher standard because their trucks can turn into weapons if they can’t be adequately controlled.

Truckers who drive under the influence pose an extreme danger to themselves and everyone else on the road.

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is a problem for everyone everywhere, and it’s as much of an issue on your local roads as it is on the highways.

Distracted driving occurs when drivers partake in an activity that takes their attention away from driving.

If you’ve ever been on a long road trip, you know that driving long distances can be boring.

In rural areas especially, truck drivers might not have good radio signals, so they won’t have music or talk shows to keep them entertained.

The boredom that comes from that could lead a trucker to pick up their cell phone, start texting, look for podcasts, eat, or do whatever else they can find to keep them occupied.

Even if the truck driver isn’t purposely driving distracted, anything that pulls their focus from the road for even a second could have catastrophic consequences.

Failing To Secure Loads

No matter what a semi-truck is carrying, the product or products must be carefully packed and secured so that the weight is evenly distributed across the truck.

If the driver or truck company fails to ensure the weight is evenly distributed can lead to a horrible trucking accident, like a truck rollover.

Uneven distribution of weight is especially risky during turns or when the truck tries to stop.

If products aren’t properly tied down or stored on a flyer, they could fly off the trailer and into traffic in front of other vehicles.

That can easily cause a major accident on an interstate.

Low Filled Liquid Loads

Some delivery trucks are designed to transport liquids like gas and oil.

These tanks can only hold a certain amount of liquid before they get too full.

However, leaving a tank partially full is more dangerous than most people realize.

If a trailer is less than 3/4 full, the liquid can splash around inside the tank and cause the truck to sway back and forth.

This is especially dangerous when the truck turns or changes speed.

When the liquid makes a sudden movement, it’s very easy for the driver to lose control and cause an accident.

Wide Turns

No matter what direction a semi-truck turns, whether right or left, they will make a much wider turn than a standard passenger vehicle.

This is due to its length, size, weight, and limited turning radius.

This can create blind spots when the truck is turning.

But truck drivers still don’t have full use of the road to make their turns, and they must remain in their lane of traffic while they turn.

They also have to exercise due care for others and make sure nothing is in their blind spots.

If they don’t, they could easily be involved in a trucking accident.

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Improper Training Or Maintenance

There are rules and regulations for how many hours of training each truck driver must complete before driving a commercial vehicle.

However, some drivers manage to get on the road before they fulfill their requirements.

This leaves them unprepared to deal with certain things while they are driving, like adverse road conditions, and they may not be familiar with all of the federal regulations.

Every truck driver is bound to drive through bad weather, whether it’s wind, rain, or snow.

It takes a lot of experience and proper training to safely drive in adverse weather conditions in a commercial truck.

Truck drivers should drive slower than usual in poor weather conditions, so they don’t skid, hydroplane, or jackknife the truck.

If a driver isn’t properly trained in driving in bad weather, everyone on the road around them is at risk.

Each truck is also supposed to be inspected before it gets on the road, but these can be rushed or skipped altogether.

There are costs associated with maintenance, and it takes valuable time that companies would rather use to make deliveries.

That often leads the routine maintenance to be neglected for as long as possible, leaving the trucker driving an unsafe vehicle.

Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Law Firm

If you’ve been involved in a trucking accident that was no fault of your own, you need to seek compensation for your injuries and other damages.

If the trucker is found to be responsible for the accident, you have a right to financial compensation for your medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and any other damages that you have been forced to endure.

It only takes a few moments for a negligent truck driver to change your life forever, but navigating the complex legal system can take what feels like a lifetime.

An experienced truck accident attorney with the Mabra Law Firm will fight to protect your rights after any of the common types of truck accidents.

A truck accident lawyer with the Mabra Law Firm will help you recover both physically and financially.

Our Atlanta truck accident attorneys know where to look for evidence to prove that the truck driver caused your accident, and they will stop at nothing to get you the compensation you deserve.

Click the button below to schedule your Free Consultation with the Mabra Law Firm today.