All vehicles on the road are dangerous, and drivers should always be vigilant to the potential danger when they’re driving. However, commercial trucks present additional concerns for people on the road. Their size makes them harder to maneuver, and it takes them much longer to stop compared to a consumer vehicle. But these factors alone aren’t the cause of most commercial truck accidents. The Law Firm of Steve Watrel, P.A. has worked with many clients who have been involved in a truck-related accident, and the cause is often human error. Here are four avoidable factors that contribute to trucking accidents.
Whether it’s the truck driver or the person in the car, driver error is the most likely cause of collisions that involve a commercial truck. According to a study conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), driver error is ten times more likely to be the cause of a crash than any other factor. For example, the FMCSA says that speeding is the number one cause of fatal truck crashes. Other forms of driver error include sleeping while driving, inattentive or distracted driving, or poor decision making by the driver.
Driving Too Close
Maintaining a proper distance between vehicles is essential for all cars, but it’s vital if you’re driving near a commercial truck or if a truck driver is behind another car. As was mentioned before, commercial trucks can’t stop quickly because they’re carrying a more massive load than a car. If a truck is too close to the vehicle in front of it, the truck won’t be able to stop quickly enough in an emergency. Truck drivers know this fact and try to keep ample space between them and the next vehicle. Drivers should avoid pulling in front of a commercial truck and stopping quickly since the truck wouldn’t have had time to increase the lead distance. On the other end of the spectrum, some cars try to save fuel by driving in the wake of a commercial truck. However, this is extremely dangerous because the car won’t have time to break if the truck stops suddenly.
Commercial trucks have more sophisticated systems than consumer vehicles that make it easier for truck drivers to manage large vehicles with heavy loads. When that equipment malfunctions, accidents are likely to follow. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Fatal Causation Study, in 55 percent of truck accidents involving injury, the truck had at least one mechanical failure. The same study also notes that nearly a third (30 percent) of trucks had at least one out-of-service equipment issue, such as faulty or poorly maintained brakes, improperly inflated or worn tires, defective or missing safety equipment such as underride rails, improperly functioning or broken lights including turn signals, and more. If you’re involved in a trucking accident, these are some of the factors that the insurance company, and your lawyer, will need to examine.
Unsafe Lange Changes
Many truck accidents that happen on the highway are the result of unsafe lane changes. Highways can be congested during certain parts of the day, and truck drivers who need to change lanes often merge in sudden and unexpected ways. Drivers taken by surprise have few options, and they end up swerving, braking, and colliding with other vehicles.
If you’ve been involved in a truck-related accident, it’s vital to discover the cause of the crash. Besides the damage to the vehicle, drivers and passengers can end up with serious injuries that require years of medical treatment. The Law Firm of Steve Watrel, P.A. can help victims of trucking accidents get the compensation they deserve from insurance companies.