Accidents involving trucks are on the rise. A collision involving a truck is much more likely to be fatal or cause life-changing injuries than any other vehicle. According to iihs.org trucks often weigh 20-30 times more than an average car making collisions a lot more dangerous for passengers and drivers in smaller vehicles. So what are the most frequent causes?
Truck drivers often have grueling schedules. Driving long distances without regular breaks impacts a driver’s ability to react quickly in an emergency on the road. In some cases, drivers may fall asleep momentarily, causing their vehicle to swerve or worse veer off the road, towards oncoming traffic. It’s advisable not to drive for more than 8 hours in a row to avoid sleep-related incidents. A truck driver has a personal responsibility to ensure that he has adequate rest breaks to stay in full control of his vehicle.
Poor Vehicle Maintenance
Ensuring the vehicle is safe to drive is one of the most important jobs of a large vehicle company. HGVs are used for the transportation of various goods and cover thousands of miles per day. It is essential for the driver’s safety, and others, to ensure that brakes, windscreen wipers, tires, and other essential features are checked before a journey.
Although this is a requirement, many truck companies fail to do this because it takes time and money. Compromising safety for these reasons is unwise, irresponsible, and dangerous. Accidents that occur due to lack of correct maintenance can have devastating consequences to those involved in the collision, truck crash causes in Texas, for example, are primarily caused by faulty brakes. In such cases, several people are liable, leading to complex legal complications.
Long haul drivers are often under a lot of pressure. Trying to meet a delivery deadline can cause drivers to make mistakes on the road, leading to avoidable accidents. Distraction due to eating, phone usage, or changing GPS settings, may cause drivers to make careless mistakes. Even a couple of seconds of distraction can be enough for a driver to miss a red light, or identify cars that have stopped up ahead.
It is crucial that drivers do not get so overwhelmed with their task that they compromise their safety and that of others.
Speeding continues to be the second-highest cause of accidents on the road. The impact of speeding in a heavy-duty vehicle is catastrophic. When a truck collides with another vehicle, the sheer weight and size will inevitably do way more damage than a car would. Add speed to the scenario, and you have a recipe for disaster.
Stopping distances differ significantly between vehicles. The time it would take to stop in an HGV depends on its brakes’ efficiency, size, and weight. And the faster the HGV is traveling, the longer the stopping time.
Another point to note is the importance of not tailgating. When an HGV tailgates, he reduces his ability to stop in time if the driver in front needs to make an emergency stop. The faster he is driving, the more time it will take. Using an online calculator is a useful step to determine how much space you should allow a car in front when traveling.
Alcohol and Substances
Drinking under the influence is a big no-no in the world of driving. Still, some drivers take this hazardous risk. Drink/drug driving slows reaction times and affects coordination. When driving long distances, a driver must retain a sharp focus for long periods at all times.
With multiple things happening at once, a driver may have to negotiate several situations at one time. Good driving means having the ability to think and look ahead, to anticipate potential dangers. Alcohol or drugs inhibit this ability and are amongst the most dangerous driving habits.
Unlike the reasons above we have considered, the weather is uncontrollable. So how can a driver be ready for inevitable changes? Planning will ensure that you are ready, should some bad weather challenge your journey. Always check the forecast before your trip and check all your vehicle’s safety features are working: fog lights, wipers, etc. are essential should you hit bad weather.
Dangers such as black ice and fog all contribute to accidents. Slowing down your vehicle will help to maintain control and limit the damage if a crash was imminent.
Truck accidents remain the most deadly of all collisions on the road. But by remaining vigilant, we can all help to reduce the impact of careless accidents.