Driving safely isn’t always easy. However, operating an 18-wheeler with thousands of pounds of cargo is even more difficult. There are several things that can cause truck accidents. It could be driver error, road conditions, or other motorists. Sometimes, inclement weather can play a large role in your ability to get from Point A to Point B without issues.
Whether you’re a truck driver or just share the road with them, learning about road hazards is key to keeping everyone safe. If you want to find out more about the common causes of accidents involving semi-trucks, keep reading for everything you need to know.
Rain, Snow, and Ice
Slippery roads can make it difficult for any vehicle to get around safely. While some vehicles definitely perform better than others, weight is always a factor when it comes to slowing down and/or stopping.
Semi-trucks can weigh as much as 40 tons (80,000 pounds). As you can probably guess, it takes a long time to slow down a vehicle that heavy, even under optimum conditions.
On rain, snow, and ice, semi-trucks can easily lose control. Typically, truck drivers adjust to the conditions of the road. However, black ice can be hard to spot.
More truck accident causes include impaired vision. This can happen under varying conditions. For example, in high-fog situations, it can be difficult to see more than 20 or 30 feet in front of you.
This makes driving any vehicle down a highway or interstate exceedingly dangerous. There could be other drivers stopped in the middle of the road because they’re too afraid to keep driving. Wildlife accidents are also more common in foggy conditions, which could create other blockages in the road.
Additionally, heavy snow and rainfall can obstruct a driver’s view, even without fog.
And finally, even during great conditions, sunrises and sunsets have the habit of placing the sun right in a driver’s eyes. This can make it incredibly difficult to see the road ahead.
Truck drivers often travel long distances to transport goods and other materials. These trips often include sections of highway uninhabited by people. This means greater chances of wildlife crossing, another common cause of truck accidents.
In a big rig, it’s typically better to stay the course if a deer or other animal crosses in front of you. The vehicle will stay relatively true because it’s so big and heavy. However, most people can’t help but react by veering and hitting the breaks.
In a regular vehicle, this might save your life. However, in a semi-truck, it could do the opposite. Veering and breaking aggressively can make a truck driver lose control, which could have devastating consequences.
Commercial truck drivers, by trade, drive long hours on relatively boring roads. This can make it difficult to stay awake and alert. As such, commercial truck accidents are often the result of the driver nodding off behind the wheel.
In most cases, the truck drifts to the middle of the road or onto the shoulder where the rumble strips wake the driver. However, timing is everything.
In the worst-case scenario, a drowsy truck driver could drift into oncoming traffic, into a concrete barrier, into the ditch, etc. Any of these accidents have the potential to cause serious truck accident injuries.
Fortunately, there are several methods of avoiding and overcoming drowsiness while driving. For example, a driver can:
- Play upbeat, loud music
- Drink coffee or an energy drink
- Open a window
- Get plenty of rest before driving
- Pullover at a rest stop for a quick nap
- Pullover at a rest stop to get up and walk around
- And more
Being tired on the road isn’t uncommon. However, it is avoidable.
Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of car accident deaths. In 2019, there were over 3,140 deaths related to distracted driving.
The most common culprit is the modern smartphone. These amazing devices play music, stream videos, connect to social media, and more. However, operating a vehicle is not the appropriate time to get sucked into these screens.
Something as innocent and simple as changing the music could lead to life-altering truck accidents. Other distractions include eating, drinking, reading, and more.
Some truck drivers don’t enjoy the solitude of their profession and bring a dog with them on their routes. While there’s nothing wrong with this, the dog must be well behaved and contained while on the road. Otherwise, the animal could distract the driver and cause an accident.
Finally, no matter how safe a truck driver is operating their vehicle, there’s one thing they’ll never be able to control – other motorists. Other drivers (especially those who have never operated a big rig) don’t fully understand the limitations and responsibilities of driving a semi-truck.
Trucks can’t stop on a dime, change lanes quickly, or provide as much visibility as other vehicles. Motorists who don’t yield to semi-trucks s or take extra precautions while sharing the road with them are often the cause of truck accidents.
What to Do if You’ve Been Involved in a Truck Accident
Because truck accidents involve massive, exceptionally heavy vehicles, they have the potential to cause equally exceptional damages and injuries. If you’ve been involved in an accident, contact a truck accident lawyer immediately. They can guide you if you want to pursue compensation for your injuries and expenses.
A truck accident attorney can help you, whether you were the driver of the truck or the other motorist. Either way, you need to know your rights and what you’re entitled to.
Are You Looking for a Lawyer Who Handles Truck Accidents?
If you’ve been in an accident involving a semi-truck, we understand the amount of anxiety and stress you must be feeling. It’s okay, these feelings are normal.
However, you need to start thinking about your future health, happiness, and financial well-being. We recommend talking to a truck accident lawyer as soon as possible. You need a legal professional who specializes in truck accidents to guide you through this.
We can help. Contact us today to get a free case evaluation. We’ll provide you with options, answers, and assistance.