Large commercial trucks are a common but dangerous presence on the roads. Tens of thousands of truck-related deaths and injuries occur each year in the United States. These incidents are often the result of the vehicle's size, unsecured cargo, and inadequate safety protocols. Why do these commercial vehicle crashes continue to happen so often and what can be done to make the roads safer?
Large Truck Sizes Can Be Dangerous
The size of commercial trucks makes them a major source of danger on the roads. Due to their substantial weight and dimensions, truck accidents can have devastating consequences when they collide with other vehicles even at low speeds.
Major risks associated with large vehicle size include:
- Difficulty maneuvering: Trucks weigh significantly more than most other vehicles, making it difficult for drivers to make sudden maneuvers or changes in direction. This can lead to catastrophic outcomes in emergencies on the road.
- Blind spots: Large commercial trucks have significant blind spots where the driver's view is blocked. If a smaller vehicle happens to be in one of these blind spots, it might not be seen by the truck driver, dramatically increase the risk of a truck accident.
- Limited visibility: The height and size of commercial trucks make it difficult for the driver to see the road below and around them. This can increase the risk of a collision when vehicles are traveling in close proximity to commercial trucks.
- Weather: The risk of a collision increases considerably when bad weather enters the equation. Weather can exacerbate all of the issues described above. Heavy rain or snow can further complicate a situation on the road for a truck driver, making it nearly impossible for them to stay upright in certain situations. In northern New England, like New Hampshire and Maine, snow on the road is a frequent hazard for truck drivers.
Unsecured Truck Cargo on the Highway
Unsecured cargo is another significant risk factor in truck accidents. If a cargo is not properly secured to a trailer or truck bed the items can become loose during transit and cause serious hazards. Loose cargo can spill out of or off a truck and create dangerous conditions that result in other drivers swerving, braking, and colliding.
Inadequate Safety Protocols & Corporate Negligence
Trucking companies must use and enforce good safety protocols to keep their drivers and other motorists safe. When the regulations are laxed or companies fail to follow them, the risk of a truck accident can increase significantly.
Examples of inadequate trucking company safety protocols include:
- Poorly regulated rest periods can increase the likelihood of driver fatigue. Drivers who have not been given sufficient time to rest in between trips may suffer from extreme fatigue, making them more prone to errors, and putting other motorists at risk.
- Lack of proper maintenance on vehicles is another issue that can cause a serious accident.
- Inadequate training or knowledge of driving regulations can lead to serious consequences.
- Incompetent supervision can also play a huge factor . If supervisors fail to provide regular checkups on how their employees behave when driving, then serious errors might go without notice until it is too late.
Staying Safe Around Trucks on the Road
Truck drivers have an important role to play when it comes to preventing truck accidents. They should always maintain a safe speed and be aware of other vehicles. They should also practice defensive driving at all times, maintaining several car lengths between them and any other vehicle and always giving right-of-way to smaller vehicles. Whenever possible, truck drivers should take wide turns and avoid sudden braking or accelerating.
But, motorists must also understand that being near large commercial trucks can be dangerous. It is essential that everyone obeys the rules of the road to avoid getting involved in a serious collision with a commercial truck.
To help avoid a truck accident, you should:
- Always yield appropriately when around large commercial trucks; they need much more room than regular cars do.
- Maintain several car lengths between you and any other vehicle to give yourself more room if needed.
- Make sure not to speed as this increases your chances of getting into an accident with a truck.
- Be aware of your surroundings at all times; never drive with distractions such as cell phones.
Do you need legal help after a truck accident? Call (888) 801-9916 or reach out to us online to connect with Shaheen & Gordon, P.A. Our truck accident lawyers are here to help with every step of the legal process in pursuit of compensation for your losses.