Truck accidents remain the leading cause of fatalities on US roads, resulting in as many as 4,014 deaths, and over 100,000 injuries in 2020 alone. With grim figures like this, it’s no wonder that the long drawn out family road trips are turning into a relic of the days gone by.
Be it the sheer scale and size of large trucks, or the increasingly fatigued drivers who are made to drive 10 to 12 hours at a stretch, truck accidents are almost always a harrowing sight. Something that can leave a firm imprint on not just the victims, but even the poor souls who happen to witness the tragedy unfold.
That being said, for regular commuters, encountering large, heavily loaded 18-wheelers is part and parcel of traversing the highways. The only thing that can be done, is understanding the root causes of truck accidents, and taking essential steps to stay safe in your vehicle.
Understanding The Causes of Truck Accidents
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or the NHTSA regularly releases data that provides keen insights into the core reasons behind truck accidents. Based on the data over the past few years, here’s what we’ve arrived at,
- Driver Errors remain the leading cause of truck accidents, mainly resulting from fatigue, sleep deprivation, and even driving under the influence.
The NHTSA has drafted a number of laws to deal with this issue, mainly pertaining to the number of hours commercial drivers can stay behind the wheel, with a maximum of 11 hours per day, after resting for about 10 hours or more.
These rules, however, are regularly flouted owing to delivery pressures, and the lack of any stern enforcement.
- Data shows that bad weather conditions such as heavy rains, or snowfall can increase the risk of truck accidents by nearly 300%.
- According to the NHTSA, nearly 16% of truck accidents are a result of mechanical failures, or technical malfunctions in the truck.
This includes bad tires, worn-out brakes, engine failures, and a whole host of other issues that tend to crop-up due to overuse without proper servicing. Tire blowouts, especially, tend to be incredibly dangerous for large trucks, and the surrounding traffic.
- Speeding and aggressive driving remains common on highways, especially among truckers looking to break-free from the monotony of driving, while also meeting strict delivery deadlines.
How Can You Stay Safe In Your Vehicle?
Errant truckers, poorly serviced, and overloaded trucks are an ever present reality of the National Highways in the US. No matter how many laws, rules, and regulations are enacted, you will have to be on your guard, with certain necessary measures and practices.
- Stay Out of The Blind Spot – Large trucks have a massive blind spot, and smaller vehicles would do well to stay clear of these blind spots, by leaving sufficient space in front, behind, or next to a truck while passing it.
- Never Play ‘Chicken’ With A Truck – If a truck is passing by your vehicle, let it pass, and don’t try to get ahead. Such games can turn dangerous fairly quickly when dealing with a truck of such size and power.
- Pass Quickly – Beyond the various blind spots, trucks are prone to the occasional tire blowouts, rollovers, and more, putting your vehicle at risk if you spend more than what is essential on its side. Find the right passage, and speed through it as quickly as possible.
If You’re Involved In A Truck Accident, Contact An Expert Lawyer
At times, despite the steps and measures taken to stay safe, you can’t avoid simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
If you get involved in accidents with commercial trucks, however, following the much needed medical care, and recovery, make sure to get in touch with an expert personal injury lawyer, preferably a specialist in truck, or vehicular accidents to deal with, and help you make your case.
In the end, the best way to avoid becoming another statistic for the NHTSA is to stay attentive while driving, make sure you don’t do anything that hampers your reaction times, and avoid unnecessary risks such as driving at night, or during heavy rainfall as much as possible.