A truck accident can be just as severe as any other accident, with the Institute of Highway Safety(IIHS) reporting 4,119 fatal injuries in 2019. Various factors can be attributed to this figure, most of which comprise driver negligence such as speeding. Fortunately, such accidents can be avoided with the right safety practices.
Lack of Training
Truck drivers are governed by a set of laws that stipulate the given duration of hours and mandated training that each trucker must meet. While numerous truckers meet this qualification, not all are equipped for this job. This leaves some at a disadvantage when exposed to harsh weather, resulting in poor driving techniques when driving in windy, snowy, and rainy seasons. Navigating through these scenarios calls for slow driving as this allows you to avoid skidding and hydroplaning, factors that could put you and others at risk.
Distracted driving is another cause of truck accidents, with a slight error likely to lead to a crash. Driving for long hours can often mean boredom, with drivers forced to find ways to entertain themselves during their commute. This can expose you to risky behaviors such as texting, eating while driving, and using the navigation system. To avoid this, ensure you plan your entertainment needs ahead of time. This could mean setting your playlist selection before starting your journey, texting your loved ones before or after your trip, and taking your meals before you commence your trip. You can also take breaks between your commute to take care of urgent calls, ensuring you limit distracted driving.
Driver fatigue is one of the leading causes of truck accidents, with most truckers required to deliver goods to distant destinations in a short period. While truck injury attorney experts advise drivers to abide by the required work hours and mandated rest intervals, not all truck companies follow these regulations. This leaves drivers with a few hours of sleep, with the majority also experiencing reduced quality sleep.
This means that numerous truckers will often be sleep-deprived, exposing most to falling asleep behind the wheel. The repercussions are often fatal to the drivers, their passengers, and other motorists, with the majority ending up in hospital. According to the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration (FMCSA), truck drivers can drive up to a maximum of 11 hours a day. This leaves you with approximately 10-hour off-duty sessions, with the required shut-eye period for adults falling between seven to eight hours.
Poor maintenance has also been linked to truck accidents, with trucking companies required to inspect their trucks before they get on the road. If you notice defective parts such as worn-out tires, faulty breaks, or strange noises in your vehicle, ensure that you have these checked by the proper mechanics. It will be essential in helping you avoid any negligence claims, limiting any out-of-pocket expenses and lengthy court trials.
Consumption of Stimulants
As previously stated, truck drivers will often be exposed to strenuous work conditions, with tight deadlines leading most to violating their required maximum driving capacity. Due to this, some truckers will often consume stimulants such as marijuana, amphetamines, and cocaine to stay awake for these long-hour shifts. While they may work initially, they also expose you to risky behavior, with the majority of these drugs impairing your decision-making. This means that you will likely drive faster, switch lanes carelessly and ignore warning signs during bad weather. Once these substances wear off, you are also likely to fall asleep without noticing, causing fatal accidents. Rather than opting for such risky behavior, consider planning your schedule to give you ample time to rest.
While not all errors can be averted, most mistakes in truck accidents can be avoided. Ensure that you abide by the proper safety procedures for truckers before embarking on your journey.