Most other vehicles on the road do not stand a chance against a tractor trailer. These oversized vehicles can cause devastation when involved in an accident. Resulting injuries are often serious, if not fatal. So, how do we share the road safely with large trucks? For starters, you can give them a wide berth on the road. Stay focused and drive defensively. You can also learn about some of the most common causes of tractor trailer accidents and account for this information when you are sharing the road with a tractor trailer.
What are the Most Common Causes of Tractor Trailer Accidents?
There are too many different causes of tractor trailer accidents to recount at one time. The nature of these causes runs a wide range. Here, we will focus on the more common contributing causes to tractor trailer accidents. There can, of course, be more than one cause of a tractor trailer accident and it is not uncommon for multiple causes discussed here to be at play in an oversized truck accident.
First, let’s take a look at some of the external, environmental factors that can often cause a tractor trailer accident. Weather, for instance, can create unsafe roadway and driving conditions. Heavy rain, snow, and sleet can mean slick road surface. Slick road surfaces mean significantly reduced traction which, in turn, makes it more difficult to effectively stop or slow a truck down and increases the chances of a truck driver losing control over the vehicle. Furthermore, such weather conditions can severely impair the driver’s ability to see other cars and hazards.
Poorly maintained roads and confusing construction site arrangements can also lead to tractor trailer accidents. It is dangerous enough for a regular-sized vehicle to hit a pot hole on a poorly maintained road, but this danger exponentially increases with an oversized vehicle like a tractor trailer. A tire blowout caused by a pothole can lead to the truck jackknifing and sweeping out to other lanes of traffic, unable to stop hitting anything in its path.
Now, let’s take a look at some of the dangerous driving behaviors tractor trailer drivers engage in that are often the root causes of accidents. Driver fatigue, for starters, is a common cause of tractor trailer accidents. While truck drivers can put in long hours on the road, there are legal regulations in place that restrict the number of hours a truck driver can put in within a certain period of time. Unfortunately, far too many drivers ignore the restrictions and end up driving while tired. This can slow reaction time and impair judgment.
Truck drivers can also engage in reckless driving behaviors that can all too easily result in an accident. Excessive lane changing, speeding, disregarding traffic signals, and tailgating are all common causes of truck accidents. Truck drivers driving while distracted also greatly increase the chances of an accident occurring. When truck drivers check their phones, text, eat, or engage in any activity that takes their full attention away from the road, accidents happen.