In 2016, there were 33 people who lost their lives in truck accidents in Georgia. These tragedies accounted for 2 percent of all traffic fatalities for the year. While each accident is unique in its circumstances, there are causes that are considered more typical than others. As an Atlanta truck accident attorney, we believe that knowing why truck collisions most often occur can help keep drivers safer. Here are five of the top causes.
- Driver Error
Truck drivers are not infallible. They make mistakes just like any other driver. Some drivers make honest mistakes and others make choices that they shouldn’t. In most cases, however, driver error is attributed to the person behind the wheel of the passenger car involved in the accident. Truckers should learn to drive defensively and maintain a certain level of patience.
- Vehicle Maintenance
Semi trucks sustain a serious amount of wear and tear. Companies that own the rig, drivers of those trucks and any people hired to perform maintenance must take routine inspections and maintenance seriously. Cracked belts, warped tires and even cracked windows can ultimately lead to a collision. Each driver should be sure to inspect their vehicle before heading off down the road.
- Equipment Failure
The people who own and drive semi trucks aren’t always the people at fault when their rigs fail. Sometimes the company that manufactures the truck is to blame. If there is negligence during the manufacture of parts or the building of the truck, it could lead to equipment failure that causes an accident. Equipment failure can be disastrous when it comes to collisions because it often comes as a surprise that requires instant reaction.
If a driver isn’t properly trained in driving in inclement weather, traveling through rain or snow can be dangerous. Semi trucks are heavier than typical vehicles and have a slower stopping speed, making driving over ice and slick roads harrowing to say the least. A driver who isn’t prepared for inclement weather or trained to drive through it can pose a hazard for others on the road.
When you drive a typical vehicle, you can normally throw things in your trunk or backseat with little thought. You won’t be transporting anything of enough weight to need to worry about the handling of your vehicle to suffer. If, on the other hand, you are driving a semi truck, the trailer must be loaded properly. Too much weight on one side of the trailer or cargo that shifts while the semi truck is in motion could cause the trailer to tip over.
The Nuances of Truck Accidents
While there are sometimes obvious causes of truck accidents, there are contributing factors that are less obvious. Many of these nuances are only discovered after semi truck accidents are studied and the information is correlated. Here are some of the less obvious contributors to semi truck accidents.
- Day of the Week
After looking at truck accidents across the country, it has been discovered that Thursdays are the riskiest. Why? Drivers are nearing the end of a long week and are more likely to make errors. Truck drivers may be emotionally and physically drained. Accidents related to fatigue are more likely to occur at the end of a work week than the beginning.
- Time of Day
Many people are under the misconception that the most accidents happen late at night or very early in the morning. The truth is that the most fatalities on the road occur between 6 a.m. and 3 p.m. The “why” is most likely because this is the time of day that the roads are most congested. Fewer people are out in the wee hours of the morning or late at night meaning that there is simply less opportunity for two or more vehicles to collide.
- The Road
Highways are the most dangerous, right? Not so. It seems that it would be the case because highways are often more crowded than major roadways. In 2015, fatalities that occurred on major roads accounted for 53 percent of traffic deaths. Only 30 percent of those deaths occurred on highways and freeways. It is considered that speed is a factor because limits tend to be higher on major roads.
What is the takeaway? Whether you are a trucker or a commuter, stay alert during typical “business hours” if you are on the road. Always keep the maintenance of your vehicle up to date and follow traffic laws. Be especially vigilant toward the end of the week and, if you feel yourself getting tired, stop to take a break. Side roads and highways have been proven safer than major roads if you are able to adjust your route at all.
If you are involved in a truck accident, a Metro Atlanta truck accident attorney can assist you. Call our office today to discover more about your rights and how we can ensure they are upheld. We will review the details of your accident and help you determine the best course of action. Reach out to us and take the first steps to recovering the damages you are entitled to.