When you think about the size and weight of trucks, it should be clear that semi truck accidents have the potential to do a lot of damage. Most truck drivers are very safety conscious, and most semi-truck companies go above and beyond in terms of maintenance for their trucks.
But, even with every possible precaution being taken, there are accidents involving semi-trucks that happen on a regular basis. Sometimes accidents simply happen when there is some unlucky fluke that causes them.
However, it’s far more common for a mistake by the driver of the semi-truck, or by the people in charge of repairing or maintaining it, that leads to an accident. So, what are the most common causes of semi truck accidents?
Driver Error Committed By The Truck Driver
One of the most common causes of accidents for cars or semi trucks on the road is driver error. People make mistakes and unfortunately when those mistakes happen behind the wheel of a vehicle, the results can be disastrous.
What kinds of driver errors do truck drivers make that lead to accidents? A frequent cause of accidents is when a truck driver continues driving when he or she is tired. Truck drivers are under a lot of pressure to meet their goals, so some resort to driving when they’re tired. Other drivers make the mistake of operating their truck while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Driver Error Committed By Other Drivers
While some accidents involving semi trucks are caused by truck driver error, the majority of accidents are caused by other drivers. If other drivers employed defensive driving techniques such as keeping a safe distance from any trucks, many accidents could be avoided. The point here is that if both truck drivers and passenger vehicle drivers improve their driving techniques, they could avoid many accidents.
One type of truck accident that is largely unavoidable is when equipment fails on the truck. If there’s a mechanical failure on a semi truck that causes the truck driver to lose control, then this is an accident that the truck driver couldn’t reasonably avoid.
While it’s possible that the equipment failure was due to poor maintenance, in many cases, the equipment failure is a result of a manufacturer defect.
Poor Truck Maintenance Can Lead To Accidents
The amount of wear and tear commercial semi-trucks experience is enormous. You have to remember that these trucks drive thousands of miles every day. In fact, a truck can easily drive more miles in just a few months than a passenger car will drive over an entire year.
All of these miles take their toll resulting in various parts and systems wearing out and breaking down. From tires that go bald to brake pads that wear out, there are any number of systems in a semi truck that could fail due to wear and tear.
Even something as apparently minor as a cracked or chipped windshield can obstruct the driver’s vision, causing an accident. That’s why it’s so important that every driver thoroughly inspects their truck every time they drive it before they hit the road.
Bad weather is a common cause of many passenger car and semi truck accidents, and it’s another factor that really does fall into the realm of driver error. How can bad weather be a driver error issue?
That’s simple. During bad weather, smart drivers will pull over and wait until driving conditions improve. When you’re driving during heavy rain or snow, there are all manner of issues that you’re going to encounter.
First of all, your visibility is going to be severely impacted. Second of all, the visibility of the other drivers on the road will be impacted as well. Roads will also be slick and there could be ice or snow present making them even more dangerous.
While not driving during bad weather is the best option if you’re trying to avoid an accident, there are times when it may be necessary to drive during adverse conditions. However, by using simple, common sense based defensive driving techniques, many accidents can be avoided.
One common mistake that drivers make when driving when the roads are slick is driving too close to the car in front of them. When road conditions are dangerous, vehicles can’t slow down and stop as quickly. This makes leaving more space between you and the next driver essential.
Improperly Loaded Trailers Lead To Many Semi Truck Accidents
People who don’t drive semi-trucks don’t realize how important it is that the trailers are loaded properly. Believe it or not, an improperly loaded semi-trailer can cause an accident. If a trailer has too much freight or too little freight, it increases the likelihood that the trailer will jackknife. This usually results in a catastrophic accident.
Why would a semi-trailer be loaded improperly? Sometimes it’s due to negligence. Other times it’s due to errors committed by the people loading the truck. No matter the reason, the result will be a trailer that is difficult or impossible for a driver to control which often leads to accidents.
Understanding What Causes Accidents Can Help Drivers To Avoid Them
Can we avoid all semi accidents? No, but every accident we avoid is a victory. Every accident we avoid means lives that are saved and property that isn’t damaged. Semi-trucks are an essential part of modern life. Without semis, all of the goods that we depend on wouldn’t be in stores for us to buy.
Think about that. Just about everything in your home right now was on a truck at one point. So, while semi trucks do represent a potential danger on the roads due to their size, they are a necessity.
That means that finding ways to operate them safely while reducing accidents is important. The first step in that process is identifying common causes of accidents, which can then be used to help find ways to reduce these risks.