Car accidents are bad, but truck accidents can make you rethink how bad a car accident can be. In this context, trucks are not pickup trucks you can get for yourself, but large 18-wheeler trucks with cargo. They’re necessary for our economy, but when they get into an accident, it can be catastrophic.
With a truck accident, delays and traffic are the least of anyone’s worries. They can cause significant damage, leading to serious injuries and potentially death. Even if the passengers are alright, they may not be able to afford the car repairs. Multiple cars may also be affected if a large truck flips.
Thankfully, car accidents involving trucks are actually down year-over-year. Truck accidents currently only make up 9% of vehicles involved in fatal car crashes, and after a record high of 118,500 truck-related accidents in 2019, recent statistics report that they’ve only gone down. They’ll continue to go down if we’re all aware of some common truck accident causes we can help to avoid.
Truck accidents are different from normal car accidents. Driving a truck is different from driving a car, so much so that it requires an additional license. Due to a truck’s long length, drivers have more blind spots they can struggle to account for. With this in mind, there are things truck drivers and car drivers on the road can notice or do to avoid truck accidents.
One of the most common causes of truck accidents is caused by cars being too close to trucks. Truck drivers are naturally at a disadvantage when it comes to keeping track of the road, so drivers on the road must be at a proper distance from the truck. They can’t be so close that the truck driver can’t see them in the mirror in case they brake or so close that if they turn, they turn right into a car.
It’s just as important to keep a far distance in front of a truck driver. All vehicles take longer to come to a complete stop the faster they’re going, but for trucks, this is exponentially true. If a car hits the brakes in front of a truck, there needs to be several truck lengths of space between them, not car lengths. Trucks will not slow down in time, even if they hit the brakes immediately.
Truck drivers have many rules regarding how much and how often they can drive to avoid fatigue, but that understanding isn’t going to stop some companies from breaking the rules or overworking drivers. There are even drivers who may voluntarily drive more than they’re supposed to, putting others at risk.
Drivers are only supposed to drive a maximum of 11 hours a day, after a rest period of 10 consecutive hours. Driving more than that risks becoming fatigued. Despite this, 18% of truck drivers have fallen asleep behind the wheel. The human body can only do so much, so it’s important that truck drivers rest before driving and that employers do not push them.
Going a little fast may seem like nothing if you’re going with the flow of traffic, but the flow of traffic changes around a truck. Don’t speed around a truck in a flash, or try to slip into a tight spot in front of them. That’s dangerous driving behavior that doesn’t take into account how much slower a truck is to slow down or react than a car.
The same goes for truck drivers. Truck drivers have to move at the speed limit, too, and not allow themselves to be distracted. Leaning even a little bit to grab something in the vehicle can lead to your cargo swaying into other lanes. Truck drivers can’t afford to make even the slightest off-kilter movement.
As stated before, truck drivers need to get a special license to drive commercial trucks. Aside from already having a normal driver’s license, to get a commercial truck driver’s license, you need to:
There are Commercial Driving License (CDL) training schools that partner with companies to get their drivers ready as fast as possible. This can lead to having drivers on the road who are ill-prepared to handle a truck.
Even if you drive carefully you may still find yourself in a truck accident. The first thing you should always do in any car accident is to make sure you and your passengers are alright, and then if anyone else was injured. After that, you should make sure to record the damages to your vehicle and/or person for future records.
Once you’ve recovered, contact the injury attorneys at Scartelli Olszewski, P.C. to get the compensation you deserve. Don’t pay for an accident you didn’t cause more than you have to. We’re here to help.