Does driving on the highway next to a semi truck make you nervous? What about being stuck in the middle lane with a truck to your left and one to your right? If you are like many drivers, this can turn an easy bit of driving into a white-knuckle experience. Visions of being run off the road or crushed between the two trucks run through your mind until you can maneuver safely away from the trucks.
Thousands of people are involved in fatal semi truck accidents every year. You may find it surprising that very few of these accidents involve being caught in between two trucks. While it can certainly happen, that type of accident is something that resides largely in our fears. Other types of accidents, however, are much more common. If you’ve ever wondered what causes these large vehicles to crash, continue reading. We’ve put together a list of the most common causes of semi truck accidents.
Imagine having a job where you are on your own and able to see all of the fantastic scenery our county has to offer. It sounds great! Unfortunately, driving thousands of miles every day takes its toll on the mind and body. While a road trip may sound like a wonderful way to spend a vacation, these drivers are essentially road tripping every day. How exhausting.
Not only are these drivers clocking in thousands of miles, but they are often paid by the mile. This is an incentive to drive as far as they can as quickly as they safely can. At the end of the day, it could mean more money. Some drivers are operating their big rigs when they are simply too tired to do so. Driver fatigue is one of the most common causes of semi truck accidents today.
Semi trucks are supposed to be kept in good condition, according to federal regulations. Improperly maintained braking systems, warn tires and unsafe trailers can all lead to accidents. When these components fail, the entire rig is compromised. Drivers should conduct inspections before every trip, making sure cables are secure, tires are properly inflated, brakes work properly and all lights are functioning. Other inspections should take place in a timely manner based on regulations.
Distracted driving is not an issue that is limited to drivers of passenger vehicles. When a person is driving any sort of vehicle, their full attention should be on the road ahead. When attention wanes, so does the ability to drive safely.
Distractions come from cell phones, but also from other stimuli. Eating, grooming, drinking, using a GPS, changing the radio… all of these things can cause distractions and take the focus off of the road. Drivers are urged to keep their attention where it belongs at all times.
Sadly, one of the most common causes of accidents is another that is entirely avoidable. Driver inexperience leads to hundreds of accidents every year. Semi truck drivers are put through classes and driver training just like any other driver. At times, though, these men and women are put behind the wheels of unfamiliar vehicles as soon as they earn their endorsements. This unfamiliarity can lead to mistakes and, in turn, accidents.
The sheer power of a fully loaded semi truck is amazing, even when the trailer is loaded properly. When a trailer is loaded improperly, the power is still present, but the balance of the vehicle is affected and that can lead to accidents. When a semi truck is being packed, it should be done so by someone who has experience in properly distributing weight. If a load shifts or moves when a semi truck is traveling down the highway, the truck can jack-knife, become difficult to maneuver or even overturn.
Accidents involving semi trucks and passenger vehicles are typically severe. A truck far outweighs a car, and fatalities are too common in these types of accidents. While it is a truck driver’s responsibility to operate their vehicle safely, it is also up to the driver of a passenger vehicle to be respectful of these extra-large rigs. If you find yourself next to a semi on the road, do your best to get around it safely. Cutting off a semi truck or driving in its blind spot can be dangerous for everyone.
If you are involved in an accident with a semi truck in West Palm Beach, you may have legal rights to compensation. Call our office today to schedule an appointment for a free case evaluation. We will review the details of your accident, help determine who may have been at fault and advise you of your options. Reach out to us today or browse our website at your convenience for more information about our firm.