Commercial trucks present unique challenges to road users and the driver operating them. Imagine an 18-wheeler on the road with tons of goods being driven carelessly or losing control. The effects can be fatal, right?
The magnitude of accidents caused by trucks can be huge due to their size, weight, and the traffic on site. It can often result in fatalities, injuries, potential lawsuits, and heavy financial losses, among other damaging effects.
So, how can you avoid such accidents? You can start by analyzing the common cases of mishaps involving trucks.
Below are some of the reasons that cause truck accidents:
Drivers of commercial trucks drive for very long distances, sometimes even across borders. This is accompanied by extensive hours spent on the road, which makes it difficult to maintain alertness. This plays a huge role in the accumulation of fatigue that affects the ability to control the trucks — sometimes the truck drivers can easily fall asleep at the wheels as well.
Also, the truck owners are partly to blame for the eventual mess. This is due to the frequent emergency orders, failure to provide co-drivers, and added pressure on the drivers to deliver.
- Errors Of Other Drivers
Other drivers or motorcyclists also affect or increase the likelihood of accidents on the road. A careless motorcycle rider can make truck drivers swerve or brake suddenly leading to an accident.
These are some of the actions that can cause such accidents:
- Driving in blind spots can lead to a failure on the driver’s part to spot nearby vehicles, so any sudden moves may affect vehicles in the immediate vicinity.
- Changing lanes abruptly.
- Failure to co-operate when trucks are changing lanes or turning onto other roads.
- Misjudging the speed of oncoming trucks.
- Unsafe overtaking, especially near corners or un-authorized sections of the road.
The actions of other road users may be minor, but due to the massive size of trucks, the mistakes can be compounded into big accidents. They can result in passengers being injured in a trucking accident, damage to vehicles, and huge traffic snarl-ups.
- Improper Truck Maintenance
Trucks carry heavy loads and the long hours spent on the road takes a toll on the vehicles. This calls for frequent maintenance, as some manufacturing defects can develop on the road. Without scheduled maintenance, these can hardly be detected.
Some of the common defects include the following:
- Tires – Truck drivers and owners should ensure that the tire’s tread is in top condition. Worn-out tires can affect the ability to brake or maneuver during emergencies.
- Suspension Issues – These offer balance and proper weight distribution to trucks, and the vehicle handling is also improved when braking
- Braking Systems – Improperly maintained brakes increase vulnerability to accidents.
Speeding is one of the leading causes of accidents. The size and heavy loads of trucks give drivers little room to maneuver in emergencies. This can also be compounded by any defective parts or poorly maintained brakes.
Speeding passenger vehicles can also involve truck drivers in head-on collisions. It could also lead to quick maneuvers, all of which can result in accidents.
- Load Problems
Trucks offer logistics services and transfer of goods from one locality to another. Load handling can, therefore, increase the likelihood of accidents in trucks. The poor fastening of load within carrier compartments can cause sudden shifts of weight—this can result in trucks losing control.
There is also the likelihood of boxes, metal rods, and other packaging falling off the truck — this can injure other road users or cause collisions.
- Distracted Drivers
Truck drivers spend long hours on the road. This leaves them bored and their attention span is also reduced in the process. This leads them to engage in activities such as texting, calling while driving, or browsing social media sites. This can be extremely dangerous to other users on the road. In case of an emergency, this also compromises their ability to respond.
- Poor Training
The category of commercial trucks requires special training and licensing. However, this is not always the case in reality. Despite the curriculum being standard, some disparities lead to poor skills. The commercial aspects of training institutions can affect the quality of the training that the driver receives, whereas failing to attend refresher training can also affect road safety.
- Influence Of Drugs And Alcohol
Improper conduct of drivers, like the consumption of drugs and alcohol, can lead to accidents. This is more prevalent among long-distance drivers or those on night shifts, as there may be little oversight from authorities.
Trucks operate in special circumstances that increase the probability of accidents. Driver fatigue, mistakes of other divers, load problems, and over speeding are some of the usual causes of mishaps.
There are other issues such as poor maintenance, distracted drivers, and skills gap that can lead to accidents as well. Trucks spend a lot of time on the road and this is one of the likely factors that can also contribute to accidents.