The interstates and highways in Georgia and across the country are becoming more populated. As congestion grows, so do the odds of a person being involved in an accident. Despite trucking companies improving their safety training, over-the-road truckers are still at a high risk for being involved in a collision.
Studies show experience doesn’t often matter when it comes to truck accidents. Even a driver who has many years of experience under their belt is at risk. According to one report, a truck driver has a 1 in 20 chance of being involved in a traffic accident. That same study reported that there are more than 140,000 truck accidents annually, and just over half were attributed to the truck driver.
There are several factors that come into play when truck accidents occur. While trucks are more dangerous than passenger vehicles due to their sheer power, truck drivers and drivers of typical vehicles can often blame the same issues for their accidents. Here are 10 of the most common causes for truck accidents, many of which also contribute to passenger vehicle and motorcycle accidents.
1. Prescription Drug Use
Prescription drugs don’t have to be taken illegally to cause an accident. Many of the medications prescribed by physicians come with the side effect of drowsiness. In these instances, a person may be instructed not to drive or operate heavy machinery.
But what about medications that don’t typically make people sleepy? If you are on a new medication, it is always advised that you take it when you have nothing to do in order to see how your body will react to it. The last thing you want to do is swallow your pill and then get behind the wheel.
Travelling too fast for road conditions is another cause of accidents. Truckers should be very careful to operate their vehicles at speeds that are appropriate and within the limits of the law.
3. Unfamiliarity with Roadway
While most truckers stick to highways, it’s not unusual for one to be detoured off the beaten path. It’s also not unusual for a trucker to be sent along a route they’ve never traveled before. This can be a bit dangerous.
When we are familiar with roads, we know their turns and corners. We know where stop lights are and where the next exit is. As a trucker, be especially vigilant when traveling on a new road.
4. Over-the-Counter Drugs
Much in the same way that prescription medications can cause drowsiness, so can over-the-counter drugs. If you take cold, flu or allergy medications, you should pay close attention to how your body reacts. Most of these drugs cause drowsiness, which can be deadly behind the wheel.
5. Interior Distractions
Interior distractions are those that take place inside the cab. It may be a cell phone, a meal or even personal grooming. Anything that takes a trucker’s eyes away from the road is a distraction and can prove to be quite dangerous.
Thanks to new restrictions in the trucking industry, driver fatigue has been reduced, but not eliminated. Truckers should listen to their bodies and pull over if they feel sleepy. Driving while tired reduces focus and reaction time, which can quickly lead to accidents.
Drivers are urged to make sure they get enough sleep before they head out on their routes, stay hydrated and eat healthy meals. All of these things can help to prevent fatigue.
7. Illegal Maneuvers
There are a variety of maneuvers that a truck driver can make, not all of them legal. For example, a trucker may decide to make a U-turn when one isn’t permitted or may even travel on a road not classified for trucks. Following the rules of the road can prevent these accidents.
8. Exterior Distractions
Distractions don’t only occur inside of a vehicle. A trucker may be distracted by a car accident or even a field of cows. Anything outside of the truck that leads a driver to remove their eyes from the road could be considered a distraction.
Taking your eyes off the road for even 5 seconds at highway speeds allows you to cover more than the length of a football field without even realizing it. Imagine all of the accidents that could happen in that span of distance.
9. Lack of Evasive Action
A trucker may not take evasive action when necessary. A trucker may not be able to take evasive action due to circumstances beyond their control. It is recommended that a trucker leaves enough room between their vehicles and others on the road whenever they can, so they have room to maneuver as necessary.
10. Aggressive Driving
It’s not only drivers of passenger vehicles that behave aggressively behind the wheel. Truck drivers are guilty of the same behaviors. From following too closely to driving recklessly, aggressive driving habits are something that should not be developed. If you find yourself becoming frustrated and driving in a way that you would not drive otherwise, pull over for a bit and relax.
Truck accidents are more often than not very serious. While a trucker may not be injured, people in the passenger vehicle likely will be. Unfortunately, too many of these accidents prove to be so serious that they are deadly. When you know the common causes of truck accidents, you are better able to avoid being in a collision yourself.
If you do happen to be in an accident caused by a truck driver in Atlanta, you have legal rights. Call our office today to discuss your options moving forward. We will discuss your accident with you and help you make decisions appropriate to your case.