Common Causes of Truck Accidents and How to Avoid Them
As a truck driver, the last thing you want is to be involved in an accident. Not only are they costly, but they are also potentially catastrophic regarding your ability to earn a living, and to the lives of others sharing the roadways. Avoiding collisions should always be a primary concern when operating a commercial truck, big rig or semi, as these vehicles are extremely dangerous when out of control.
While avoiding accidents is part of the basic training of any driver, it is worth knowing the common causes of accidents and tips on how to prevent them.
Distracted driving is one of the most dangerous practices on the road. For truckers, this can be especially difficult to avoid as you are driving for hours on end, which can get, frankly, boring. However, always remember that answering a text message, placing a call, or engaging in any action that takes your eyes and attention off the road could lead to a catastrophe. Focusing on the road and the drivers around you is the best way to stay safe and avoid accidents. Distracted driving is illegal and a leading cause of truck accidents with injuries or loss of life.
All truck drivers want to deliver a load on time and may decide to drive faster than is allowed by law, or safe under current weather conditions, to arrive at the destination. Even if pressured to get your load delivered, speeding poses very serious risks, including:
- Fuel costs. A study by ATBS (American Truck Business Services, a tax and accounting firm for truckers) showed that speeding actually costs drivers money by increasing fuel consumption and thereby fuel costs.
- Higher speed means slower braking and slower response to changes in road conditions, drivers around you, and unexpected situations that require slowing to a stop. An accident at 70 mph could have been avoided if traveling at a slower speed.
Using cruise control and maintaining the “sweet spot” for your engine, driving the legal limit, and following the law are important ways to prevent the risk of causing a collision.
Inclement weather, including snow, rain, and ice on roadways is a leading cause of trucking accidents. In Wyoming, the weather can change rapidly, with a sunny, dry day becoming rainy or snowy within minutes. Observe the changes in weather and slow down to help prevent accidents. Looking at the weather projections for the day’s drive can assist you to prepare for your trip.
If the weather becomes too dangerous, pull over. Don’t push it and risk your life – wait for a blizzard or serious rainstorm to pass before you continue driving.
Driver fatigue is one of the top causes of trucking accidents, as your awareness and response time drops dramatically. There are legal limits to consecutive hours on the road, and even if you think you can push it – don’t. No delivery is more important than your life and the lives of those around you. Keep yourself in good health, well-slept, well-fed, and well-hydrated so you can efficiently, and safely operate your vehicle.
If You’re Involved in an Accident
Because you share the road with others, there is always a risk of accidents regardless of how careful you are. If you’re involved in an accident caused by another, contact a Gillette truck accident attorney right away to keep your rights protected and seek the compensation you need. Steven Titus & Associates, P.C., is a Wyoming law firm with an unbeatable work ethic who understands the trucking industry. Contact us today at (307) 257-7800 for a free case strategy session.
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