Common Causes for Trucking Accidents
Truck accidents can occur for a number of different reasons, ranging from driver failure to the fault of another driver on the road. Many times, these accidents are a combination of more than one of these factors.
It helps to understand what these causes are, as they can affect a personal injury case involving a semi-truck or trailer.
Causes Related to the Truck Driver
Many times, an accident is caused from something the truck driver did or failed to do. Human error can play a major factor in why any accident occurs, whether it be a vehicle or a truck. Problems arise when the human error leads to a crash involving a semi-truck.
Accidents can result from the driver being overly fatigued, ill or falling asleep behind the wheel. Distracted driving can also play a part in causing a truck accident, if the driver is distracted by the radio, cell phone or other device. Additionally, it can be tempting for a driver to look at something off the road, distracting him or her temporarily from the road ahead.
If a driver is on an interstate or is driving in hazardous conditions, many times the way the driver reacts to a certain hazard can lead to an accident. If he or she is speeding or following a car too closely, the truck may not be able to properly stop in time or steering appropriately if the car in front of the truck suddenly stops, leading to an accident.
Truck drivers are required to undergo a certain amount of training on several skills, including driving technique, safety issues, and defensive driving. If the driver has inadequate training and fails to react appropriately to a hazard, this lack of training could also be the reason an accident occurs.
Driver compensation can also be based on a system that encourages truck drivers to travel further distance and log more hours than would normally be advisable under safety standards. Many times, a driver may try to travel faster to log more miles to make more income, but this decision to travel at a more unsafe speed can be what leads to a dangerous accident. If a driver decides to travel for a longer period of time, this can also put the driver in a position where he or she is overly tired and not making the correct decisions when behind the wheel.
In addition, the truck itself may be the reason that an accident occurred. Many things can go wrong with the truck itself, including failure of brakes, tires, wheels or steering. The truck’s suspension can also fail, leading to an accident.
Occasionally, no matter how hard the driver may try to avoid the possibility, the cargo in the trailer can shift, leading to the truck losing control.
If the truck is not properly inspected after every trip, this can lead to transmission or engine failure or degraded braking. Given the fact that trucks are driving long hours and for hundreds of miles any given day, it is important that the truck and trailer is inspected pre-trip, during the trip and post-trip to make sure that the truck and its components are functioning properly. If the truck is not inspected, this failure can result in a malfunction, leading to an accident.
Passenger Vehicle Causes
Of course, an accident involving a truck is not always the fault of the truck driver or the truck but with the other vehicles who share the road with the truck. Other drivers on the road may not always know how to drive safely around a semi-truck. Even if the do, they may willfully disregard these rules.
Many drivers travel in the “no zone” area of the truck, which is directly behind or beside the truck where the driver has limited to zero visibility. In addition, drivers also change lanes abruptly in front of a truck, resulting in an accident or trying to pass a truck illegally while it is making a right turn.
Accidents can also occur when passing a truck and being thrown off position by high air turbulence or a cross-wind, as well as driving between two large trucks. These accident risks may not always be obvious, but if driving in hazardous weather conditions, it is very easy to lose control over one’s vehicle when passing a truck during high winds or rain.
Traveling with caution is always recommended when driving around or passing a semi-truck on the road. Keep in mind that if you cannot see the driver or his or her mirrors, it is highly likely the driver cannot see you as well.
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If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, or any other personal injury situation, call Joseph Wilson for a free initial consultation. Call us at (678) 210-1546.