Accidents between a semi-truck and a smaller motor vehicle can be devastating for the driver of the smaller vehicle. 68% of all deaths from trucking accidents happen to someone in a passenger vehicle. The sheer weight and size of the truck puts anything and anyone else at an immediate disadvantage.
That’s why it’s important that there’s awareness of what circumstances, conditions, and scenarios can lead to an accident in a truck. All drivers should understand these so they can remain vigilant, whether they’re the ones behind the wheel of the long-haul truck or sharing the road with trucks while operating a smaller vehicle.
First, here are a few statistics uncovered in studies:
- Since 2009, trucking accidents have increased by 52%
- Injuries from trucking accidents have increased in the past decade
- The majority of these accidents happen in daytime hours
Some of the most common causes of accidents involving trucks include:
- Defective tires – whether it’s a blowout or a flat, the impact of a tire issue can be more pronounced on a truck and cause it to malfunction or lose control.
- Driver fatigue – this common affliction can be exacerbated by truck drivers on long haul drives with few breaks or monotonous scenery.
- Alcohol and drug abuse – unfortunately, even professional truck drivers sometimes use substances while operating their vehicles, creating the danger of intoxicated driving.
- Speeding – a truck that’s going over the speed limit will take much longer to stop, especially in rain or icy conditions.
- Smaller vehicles entering low-visibility zones of a truck – drivers of passenger vehicles must be aware that truck drivers cannot see them in certain locations relative to the truck.
- Reckless driving near a truck – this could include not giving enough space to turn, cutting a truck off, trying to overtake a passing truck and misjudging its speed, or merging in front of a truck too soon.
It’s notable that these accidents can be the fault of either driver, but that truck drivers are often less at fault than the other traffic on the road.
If all parties are aware of the potential dangers, it can be easier to avoid the mistakes as a passenger car driver, and to spot possibly reckless or dangerous behavior being committed by a truck driver.