Truck accidents are more common than you think. And they’re getting worse with over a 50 percent increase in their occurrence in the nine years up to 2018. While combination trucks and tractors were the likelier types to be involved in an accident, trucks of any type are vulnerable to being involved in a road incident then and now.
Here are the 5 common causes of truck accidents.
1. Going Too Fast
The leading cause of truck accidents is the rate of speed that they were traveling at. As the team at Munley Law can attest, a higher rate of travel, especially in a truck, leads to worse outcomes for occupants and other people involved in an accident.
The size, weight, and forward momentum mean trucks require more time to slow down. When they cannot, their impact can be far more severe than with a small automobile. Slowing the rate of speed is necessary to limit the risk factors.
Rate limiters in a truck can prevent the driver from speeding. These are an excellent addition for trucking companies to install in their entire fleet.
2. Forceful Driving
Beingoverly forceful or adopting an aggressive driving stance can lead to more accidents than expected.
The behavior shows itself as tailgating, not yielding appropriately, road rage, and other issues. By responding in a rambunctious manner, it creates potential knock-on effects on the road. This leads to drivers getting their trucks into bad situations, which sometimes causes an accident.
3. Distracted While Driving
Being distracted is a common problem, not just for truck drivers, but other drivers too.
Whether it’s overly loud music, a smartphone app notification, or a phone call, it can cause drivers to take their eyes off the road. When traveling quickly, those few seconds where attention is pulled away is enough to not see someone stepping onto the road, or a vehicle ahead braking early.
4. Fatigue from Driving Too Long
Fatigue leads to inattention, a failure to spot road problems, and possibly falling asleep at the wheel too.
Driver regulations limit truckers to a maximum of 11 hours of driving time with a mandated 10+ hours between driving stints. Furthermore, a week cannot be filled with more than 60 hours of driving time or 8 days with 70 hours.
These rules are there to protect truck drivers from trucking companies that demand more of their drivers than is safe or wise.
5. Excess Cargo Weight
Something unique to truck drivers is the weight of the cargo that they’re carrying. Also, whether it’s properly secured and cannot move around is a factor too.
When the cargo exceeds the limits for the truck, it can cause it to sway and the tires to not grip the road well. Cargo that slides around also distributes the weight inconsistently and unpredictably. For truckers, this means the truck won’t respond the way it’s supposed to. This lack of predictability in truck performance can lead to unintended accidents.
While these are the five most common causes of truck accidents, it’s not an exhaustive list. More care is necessary when driving a truck because if something goes wrong, it’s a larger fast-moving force that can do extensive damage to people, vehicles, and buildings.