Safety

safety

Safety Tips For Commercial Truck Drivers

safety
There’s a lot that could go wrong on the road as a commercial truck driver. So being properly prepared, and understanding all potential safety concerns, is so important.

Taking the right approach to truck driving safety will help you avoid accidents, and truck stop safety incidents, and keep your truck working properly. In this guide, we’ll break down all the different safety elements you need to be aware of as a truck driver.

Driving Safety Tips

It’s essential that truck drivers are always doing what they can to stay safe on the roads. As a truck driver, here are some of the most important truck driving safety tips to keep in mind.

Defensive Driving

Understanding defensive driving is essential for truck driver safety. This is when you maintain a proactive mindset by anticipating hazards and prioritizing safety on the roads.

Regularly assess your surroundings and other vehicles, predict and prevent potential risks, and adapt to changing conditions. Keep a safety cushion, use communication tools, and stay calm under pressure.

Maintain Proper Following Distance

Keep a safe following distance to allow for enough reaction time. Many truck drivers agree to maintain a minimum of one truck length for every 10 mph you’re traveling.

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Use Mirrors Effectively

It’s essential for truck and bus drivers to check their mirrors regularly and to be aware of their surroundings. Adjust them properly before starting your journey and consistently monitor blind spots.

Anticipate Potential Hazards

Stay alert and anticipate potential hazards on the road. Look ahead for brake lights, traffic signs, and changes in traffic flow to respond proactively to any challenges. Of course, always wear your seat belt.

Practice Speed Management

Always stick to speed limits and adjust your speed based on road and weather. Avoid aggressive driving and maintain a speed that allows for safe stopping distances.

Avoid Distractions

Eliminate distractions inside the cab, such as mobile phones, and focus on the road. Distracted driving significantly increases the risk of accidents in the trucking industry.

Be Mindful of Blind Spots

Truck drivers deal with larger blind spots than smaller vehicles. Be aware of these blind spots and make necessary adjustments, such as signaling well in advance before changing lanes.

Participate in Ongoing Training

Stay up to date with industry best practices and regulations through continuous training. Ongoing education can enhance your defensive driving techniques and keep you informed about the latest safety technologies and truck driving tips.

Safety At Truck Stops

Truck drivers also need to stay safe when their commercial motor vehicles are parked at truck stops. Here are a few essential tips to keep in mind about this.

truck stop

Choose Well-Lit Areas

Park in well-lit sections of the truck stop to enhance visibility and deter potential security threats.

Lock Your Vehicle

Always lock your truck when leaving, even if it’s just for a quick break. This may sound simple, but it’s essential to deter theft and unauthorized access.

Be Mindful of Personal Belongings

Keep valuable items out of sight and secure personal belongings to avoid attracting unwanted attention.

Stay Vigilant During Rest Breaks

When resting, stay aware of your surroundings. Be cautious of unfamiliar individuals and report any suspicious activity to authorities.

Use Designated Parking Areas

Park in designated truck parking areas to ensure you have enough space and avoid obstructing traffic flow.

Follow Truck Stop Rules

Always stick to any posted rules and regulations at truck stops. This includes speed limits, no-smoking zones, and other safety guidelines.

Fuel Up Wisely

Choose well-lit and reputable fuel stations. Be cautious when using your credit card and monitor for any suspicious activity at the fuel pump.

Truck Safety Checks

Beyond safety tips for driving or road conditions, keeping your truck well-maintained is vital for your safety. As a truck driver, here are a few necessary truck safety checks to keep in mind.

Vehicle Maintenance

Prioritize regular, comprehensive maintenance checks for your truck. This includes inspecting your brakes, tires, shocks, fuel filter, lights, fluids, starter, and any other critical components.

A well-maintained vehicle is fundamental for safe and efficient transportation.

truck maintenance

Brake System Inspection

Regularly check and test your truck’s brake system, including brake pads, drums, and air pressure. Properly functioning brakes are essential for effective stopping and overall road safety.

Tire Care and Inspection

Inspect your tires for proper inflation, tread depth, and signs of wear. Ensure that all tires, including the spare, meet safety standards. Well-maintained tires enhance traction and reduce the risk of blowouts.

Lighting and Visibility

Regularly inspect all lights, including headlights, taillights, brake lights, and turn signals. Proper lighting is crucial for visibility, especially during low-light conditions. This is a major factor in road safety.

Fluid Levels Check

Monitor and maintain proper levels of essential fluids such as oil, transmission fluid, coolant, and windshield washer fluid. Adequate fluid levels keep your truck running smoothly and prevent mechanical issues.

Steering System Inspection

Ensure your steering system is functioning correctly by checking for any unusual noises, fluid leaks, or difficulty in turning. A responsive steering system is crucial for maintaining control on the road.

Suspension System Check

Inspect your suspension system for signs of wear, including worn-out bushings or uneven tire wear. A well-maintained suspension system is necessary for a smoother ride and better handling.

Safety Tips for Weather

Preparing for the weather is a major part of truck driver safety. Here are a few tips to help you with this.

wet roads

Monitor Weather Forecasts

Stay informed about upcoming weather conditions along your route. Regularly check weather forecasts for potential challenges and plan accordingly.

Adjust Driving Speed

Reduce speed during adverse weather, such as rain, snow, or fog. Slowing down allows for better control, and increased reaction time, and minimizes the risk of accidents.

Increase Following Distance

Extend your following distance in dangerous weather. Wet or icy roads require more time and space to stop safely.

Avoid Cruise Control

Disable cruise control in slippery conditions. Maintaining direct control over acceleration and deceleration is crucial for safe driving in tricky weather.

Brake with Caution

Apply brakes gently to avoid skidding on wet or icy surfaces. Practice controlled braking to maintain stability.

Stay Informed About Road Conditions

Check for real-time road condition updates, especially in winter. Be aware of closures, detours, or areas prone to ice patches.

Secure Cargo in Windy Conditions

In windy conditions, ensure that cargo is properly secured to prevent shifting, which can affect the stability of the truck.

It’s a good idea to stay in contact with your dispatcher or fellow drivers to share information about weather and road challenges. Collaboration enhances overall safety.

route planning

Safety Tips For Women Truckers

Female truck drivers often face many unique safety challenges while on the road. Here are some essential safety tips to keep in mind.

Choose Well-Lit Rest Areas

When stopping for breaks or rest, opt for well-lit, busy areas. This enhances visibility, which can help with security.

Maintain Regular Communication

Stay connected with family, friends, or fellow truckers. Regular check-ins can provide a sense of security and allow for swift responses in case of emergencies.

Secure Restroom and Shower Facilities

Utilize truck stops or rest areas with secure and well-maintained restroom and shower facilities. Be aware of your surroundings and report any concerns.

Know Your Route

Familiarize yourself with the route and plan your stops in advance. This minimizes uncertainty and allows you to make more informed decisions about where to rest or refuel.

Carry Personal Safety Devices

Keep personal safety devices, such as a whistle, pepper spray, or a personal alarm, easily accessible. These tools can provide an added layer of protection in emergencies.

Invest in Self-Defense Training

Consider enrolling in self-defense classes to build confidence and learn techniques that can help you in emergency scenarios.

Establish Boundaries

Clearly communicate and assert personal boundaries with colleagues, fellow truckers, or anyone encountered during the journey. Trust your instincts and prioritize your comfort and well-being.

woman truck driver

Secure Cab Access

Ensure that your truck’s cab is properly secured when parked, especially during rest stops. Lock your doors and windows to prevent unauthorized access.

Network with Other Women Truckers

Connect with other women truckers through industry groups or forums. Sharing experiences and advice fosters a supportive community and provides valuable insights into navigating the profession.

Report Security Concerns Promptly

If you encounter any suspicious activity or feel uneasy about a situation, report it straight away to authorities or your company’s security team.

Trust Your Intuition

Always trust your instincts. If something feels off or uncomfortable, take action to prioritize your safety, whether that means changing your route or seeking assistance.

Final Thoughts

Truck drivers can face all kinds of dangers on the roads. However, by being properly prepared for them and proactively focusing on your safety, you should be able to avoid these issues.

Make sure you take care of your vehicle, follow the right driving safety precautions, and understand how to stay safe in your surroundings. This will make your life as a truck driver far easier and more enjoyable.

Looking to purchase a new semi-truck? Then get in touch with us at Mission Financial Services, where we make gaining truck financing easy for everyone.

truck driver log

How Long Can Semi Truck Drivers Drive

truck driver log

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) limits how long semi-truck drivers can drive in the U.S. to minimize the number of trucking accidents caused by exhausted truckers.

Understanding these limits is crucial if you’re looking to start your career as a truck driver. Violating these laws comes with penalties that might end your career before it kicks off.

Here’s everything you need to know about the FMCSA’s hours of service regulations to help you get started on the right foot.

What Are the Hours of Service Rules?

Hours of service regulations are guidelines FMCSA puts in place to ensure commercial truck drivers are not overworked. They outline how long a semi-truck driver can:

  • Drive at a time without stopping to take a break
  • Be on duty – this includes participating in non-driving work
  • Be off duty before starting their next shift
  • Work within a given period

Since truck drivers don’t follow conventional office work hours, the hours of service rules are based on the total number of hours worked instead of specific daytime hours.

8-Hour Rule

Truck drivers can drive for eight consecutive hours before taking a mandatory 30-minute break to rest and recharge. It’s critical to note that any non-driving period or interruption of at least 30 minutes straight satisfies this rule. A break includes having lunch, resting in the sleeper berth, or on duty but not behind the wheel.

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11-Hour Rule

As a truck driver, you can only drive for 11 hours maximum within a 14-hour window. Once you reach 11 driving hours, you must spend a minimum of 10 consecutive hours off duty before you start another 11-hour shift.

Remember, you cannot drive for these 11 hours consecutively due to the 8-hour rule. You’d have to take a 30-minute break after traveling for 8 hours without a 30-minute-long interruption.

14-Hour Rule

The 14-hour rule specifies that truck drivers can only work a maximum of 14 hours per day or duty period. After 14 hours, the driver has to rest for ten consecutive hours, even if they haven’t exhausted their 11 hours of maximum driving time.

That means, if you want to maximize the 11 hours of driving time per shift, you’ll have to do it within 14 hours from the moment you start work. Starting your shift at 6 a.m. means you have until 8.00 p.m. (14 hours later) to end it.

Within this 14-hour window, you can only drive for 11 hours (following the 11-hour rule above). The remaining 3 hours are for performing other non-driving tasks like having meals, unloading the truck, fueling, handling repairs, etc.

60/70-Hour Limit

The 60/70-hour limit governs truck drivers’ weekly driving hours, calculated over a rolling schedule. Drivers can work up to 60 hours in seven consecutive days or 70 hours in eight days. Resetting requires 34 consecutive hours off duty.

It’s worth mentioning that all these regulations apply specifically to property-carrying truckers.

Passenger-carrying drivers, for instance, have a 10-hour driving limit and a 15-hour limit on their work day. Their resting period after every shift is less – 8 consecutive hours instead of 10.

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Exceptions to Hours of Service Regulations

It is important to note that there are some exceptions to the hours of service regulations.
Sleeper Berth Provision
This provision lets you split the ten consecutive hours of rest you need after every 14-hour on-duty period into two periods, as long as:

One off-duty period lasts at least 2 hours
The other involves spending a minimum of 7 consecutive hours in your sleeper berth

All sleeper berth pairings should add up to the required 10-hour off-duty period for property-carrying truckers and 8 hours for passenger-carrying drivers.

Adverse Driving Conditions

FMCSA allows you to extend your daily driving time by 2 hours if you experience adverse driving conditions. But, you must still follow the 14-hour and 30-minute break HOS regulations.

These include any challenging road conditions you were unaware of before you started your journey. They may have led to slower driving, causing unexpected delays. Some examples of such conditions are bad weather, road construction, and heavy traffic due to an accident.

Short-Haul Exception

Under this exception, qualifying drivers can extend the 14-hour workday limit by 2 hours to 16 hours.

You are eligible for this exception if you only drive within a short 150-air mile radius from your typical workplace and often return to this place after every shift. Most times, such drivers are exempt from keeping their daily logs.

sleeper berth

What Are Daily Driver’s Logs?

Drivers’ logs are records about how semi-truck drivers spend their hours on the road. Truckers manually fill in how they spend their non-driving time, whereas electronic logs automatically capture their driving time. Doing this ensures all drivers comply with the required hours of service regulations.

A typical daily truck driver’s log contains four categories of info:

  • Driving information—time spent operating the truck behind the wheel
  • On duty (not driving)—time spent conducting non-driving duties, like loading and unloading the truck, carrying out inspections, etc.
  • Sleeper berth—hours spent resting inside the sleeper berth
  • Off duty—time spent away from all kinds of trucking work

Who Must Comply With These Regulations?

All drivers who drive commercial motor vehicles across state lines must comply with the HOS regulations set by FMCSA. A commercial motor vehicle refers to any truck or trailer that:

  • Weighs 10,001 pounds and above
  • Has a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) and gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 10,001 pounds or more
  • Transports hazardous material in large quantities, requiring placards

Penalties for Breaking HOS Rules

A few penalties that kick in if you break the HOS rules include:

  • Being placed out-of-service until you get enough off-duty time to stay in compliance
  • FMCSA imposes a fine of $1,000 to $11,000, depending on how severe the violation was
  • State and local law enforcement agencies can also charge additional hefty fines
  • The safety ratings of trucking companies decrease after repeated violations
  • You, the trucking company you work for, or both may face criminal charges

Final Thoughts

Following the hours of service rules is critical for your safety and the safety of other road users. It also ensures you have a successful truck driving career on the right side of the law.

We’ve provided a general overview of legal driving hours for truckers, but state regulations may vary slightly. Always verify the specific requirements in your state to ensure compliance.

If you’re looking to launch your trucking career, check out our resources on the different jobs commercial truck drivers do and what to expect from the position to prepare yourself adequately.

We also offer various commercial vehicle loans and can help you purchase your first truck with ease if you want to start as an independent trucker. Reach out to us to learn more about this.

truck accident stats

How Many Accidents Are Caused By Semi-Trucks?

truck accident stats
Large trucks, like semi-trucks, are essential in growing the U.S. economy. They’re the backbone of the overland freight transportation industry, which recent statistics indicate is worth over $730 billion. Simultaneously, these large and heavy trucks present a significant risk for fatal road accidents. So how many accidents are caused by semi-trucks?

We investigated how many accidents are caused by semi-trucks nationwide, their causes, and when they are most likely to happen.

The truck accident statistics research findings below provide insight that truck drivers like yourself can use to minimize or prevent motor vehicle crashes and make our roads safer for everyone.

How Common Are Semi-Truck Accidents?

Crashes involving large trucks have become a growing concern as their numbers increase yearly.

In 2021, there were approximately 523,796 police-reported large truck accidents that injured an estimated 154,993 people and killed 5,788 individuals across the U.S.

This was a significant increase (nearly 26% rise) from 2020, when about 415,444 large truck crashes happened, 141,613 people were injured, and 4,945 died.

High-Risk Times for Truck Accidents

Fatal semi-truck accidents peak between June and October, with the highest recorded in September 2021 at 515 crashes. Urban areas witness over half (54.53%) of these incidents, primarily on non-interstate highways (73.99%).

Most fatal and non-fatal accidents involving large trucks occur on weekdays between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. As a semi-truck driver, vigilance is crucial, especially on non-interstate highways during weekdays, to prevent accidents and safeguard road users.

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Semi-Truck Accident Statistics

Here is a summary of essential semi-truck accident statistics commercial truck drivers need to note.

Truck Accidents Statistics by State

Texas leads in fatal crashes with approximately 568 fatal large truck accidents in 2020, followed by California with about 368 incidents. Florida, Georgia, and Illinois rank as the third, fourth, and fifth high-risk states, reporting 322, 210, and 155 fatal semi-truck accidents, respectively, in 2020.

Conversely, Washington stands is the safest state, recording only one fatal accident in 2020. States with the lowest rates include Vermont (4), Rhode Island (6), Hawaii (6), and Alaska (8).

Truck Accidents by Vehicle Type

This section highlights large truck accident statistics by vehicle type so you can see the extent of motor vehicle accident risk you face daily as you share the road with these different types of vehicles.

Semi -Truck Accidents

Semi-trucks are responsible for nearly all fatal large truck crashes because they have more blind spots and leave little room for error when driving. Of the fatal truck accidents in 2020, 74% included semi-trucks. Also, semi-truck accident victims suffer the most severe injuries.

Bus Accidents

Thousands of deadly bus accidents happen every year. In 2021, more than 100 people died as a result of school bus-related accidents alone. If we include data from fatal motor vehicle accidents involving private charter and public buses, the number of fatalities easily doubles.

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Garbage Truck Accidents

Frequent and potentially fatal garbage truck accidents result from the poor driving habits of many garbage truck drivers. These drivers often operate in low-light conditions and tend to stop and start multiple times in the middle of their routes instead of pulling over, contributing to unavoidable fatal accidents.

Common Causes of Truck Accidents Statistics

Different types of commercial truck accidents may occur as a result of one or a combination of the following causes:

Truck Driver Error

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) conducted a large truck crash causation study, identifying truck driver errors as the primary cause of most accidents. These errors, categorized as non-performance, decision, recognition, and performance errors, accounted for 87% of all examined accidents.

The study underscores the need for heightened attentiveness among drivers of semi-trucks and large vehicles compared to drivers of passenger vehicles.

Speeding

Most inter- and non-interstate roads impose low-speed limits for truckers due to the vehicles’ large sizes and the longer distance needed to stop. However, speeding was a contributing factor in 7.3% of the fatal accidents that happened in 2020.

tired driver

Trucker Fatigue

FMCSA established hours of service guidelines to regulate the number of consecutive hours truckers can drive and how long they should rest before resuming work. Despite this, some truck drivers spend long hours on the road and fall asleep behind the wheel due to trucker fatigue. Trucker fatigue is a contributing factor in about 13% of truck accidents.

Drug Use

Alcohol and drug use impair a person’s ability to drive safely by affecting cognitive functions, resulting in diminished focus, impaired vision, and slower reaction times. In 2020, approximately 2.8% of truck drivers involved in accidents had a blood alcohol content (BAC) exceeding 0.08%.

Despite the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) setting a stringent BAC limit of 0.04%, which can lead to license suspension, drug and alcohol use still contributes to nearly 20% of truck accidents.

Tire Defects

Tire defects, including tread separation, pressure loss, and full-on blowouts, can destabilize large trucks, causing truck drivers to lose control of their vehicles and crash. Tire problems lead to large truck crashes nearly 6% of the time.

Brake Problems

Brake problems resulting from stuck calipers, master cylinder failure, and leaking fluid lines usually prevent drivers from stopping in good time. They occur more frequently than tire defects and lead to large truck crashes almost 29% of the time.

Roadway Issues

Poor road conditions contribute to approximately 20% of large truck accidents. Common roadway issues include large potholes, missing road markings, and missing signage.

Final Thoughts

Reducing the unpredictability of truck accidents is possible through collective efforts. Avoid drinking and driving, consistently maintain your truck, and remain vigilant to prevent errors while driving.

In the unfortunate event of a semi-truck accident, it’s essential to know your rights and seek compensation for damages. Follow a step-by-step guide to navigate the aftermath successfully.

Additionally, engaging a competent lawyer is crucial for filing a truck accident case. Explore our blog for detailed guides on selecting the best commercial vehicle accident lawyers tailored to various motor vehicle accidents. Take proactive steps to enhance road safety and protect your rights.

semitruck accidents

Semi-Truck Driver Accidents: What You Need To Know

semitruck accidents

Semi-truck driver accidents are a frequent occurrence in the U.S., with approximately 388,000 incidents annually. In certain years, like 2021, this number surpassed the half-a-million mark.

The prevalence of these accidents is due to various factors. As a truck driver, understanding these causes is crucial. It enables you to take necessary precautions, ultimately reducing the likelihood of trucking accidents.

This article looks at top causes of semi-truck accidents and how you can prevent them to make our roads safer for all road users.

Common Causes of Semi-Truck Driver Accidents

According to a truck crash causation study conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the common causes of semi-truck accidents fall under three main categories:

  • Driver error
  • Equipment failure or vehicle malfunction
  • Environmental conditions

Let’s take a look at each of these in turn.

Driver Error

Driver error is an umbrella term referring to any mistake a driver makes that leads to an accident. This is the number one cause of semi-truck driver accidents because almost all trucks are entirely human-driven.

Oversight by truckers includes non-performance errors, that is, mistakes unrelated to the driver’s driving skills, and performance errors, i.e., those related to their driving habits, and may include the following:

distracted truck driver

Distraction Behind the Wheel

A slight lapse in concentration when driving a semi-truck can lead to a fatal semi-truck driver accident, killing or injuring several people. This is because driving a semi-truck is different from driving regular cars. It requires more calculation, such as ensuring there is enough space (about 40% more) before stopping.

Distracted drivers can easily miscalculate their next move and cause a crash. Often, truck drivers get distracted trying to use their phones and other hand-held devices while driving.

Case in point: a trucker was recently charged with five counts of manslaughter. He hit another commercial vehicle, which crashed into two other cars, killing five people on the scene.

Driver Fatigue

Truckers are usually compensated based on the number of miles they drive, motivating many to extend their work hours for increased mileage. However, the FMCSA has established strict hours-of-service regulations that all truckers must follow.

Despite these guidelines, the pressure to cover more distance often leads to fatigue, and some truckers may find themselves dozing off behind the wheel, contributing to the occurrence of truck crashes.

Substance abuse

Alcohol or substance abuse impairs one’s judgment, and truck drivers are not immune to their effects. A truck driver can become drowsy and slow to respond to different situations or conditions on the road when under the influence. Fatal truck crashes are more likely to occur as a result.

Traffic Violations

Flaunting interstate traffic laws is a common practice among truckers. Most run stop lights, fail to obey road signs, or overspeed, increasing their risk of getting involved in semi-truck accidents.

blind spot

Failure to Check Blind Spots

Because of their large size and weight, there are several blind spots a trucker must check before switching lanes or turning. Some drivers fail to check their mirrors as needed and hit other vehicles or pedestrians.

Aggressive driving

Road rage affects nearly all drivers, truckers included. More often than not, it leads to reckless or aggressive driving, where one driver might try to crash into another who made them angry deliberately.

Inexperienced Drivers

Inexperienced drivers are more likely to cause a crash, especially on interstate roads, compared to their experienced counterparts.

Equipment Failure Or Vehicle Malfunctions

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducted another large truck crash causation study and realized that equipment failure or vehicle malfunctions are among the top causes of semi-truck accidents. Nearly 55% of the trucks involved in the crashes studied had one mechanical failure at the very least.

If your vehicle or any of its parts fail when you are on the road, a truck crash becomes unavoidable because the situation is almost always out of your control. There are several types of equipment failures or vehicle malfunctions to note, including:

  • Part manufacturing defects
  • Wrongly Loaded Cargo
  • Transmission failure
  • Improperly inflated or worn-out tires
  • Missing safety equipment, like underride rails
  • Overall poor vehicle maintenance, including poorly maintained brakes

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Environmental Conditions

Unpredictable weather and changing road conditions can also cause semi-truck accidents. Heavy rains or storms, for instance, make roads wet and slippery, increasing the risk of accidents. Some roads are also poorly maintained and demand more cautious driving.

If a truck driver fails to drive keenly on uneven roads or those with large potholes, fading road markings, and missing signage, they will likely cause a crash.

Steps You Can Take to Prevent the Causes of Most Truck Accidents

As you can tell, most causes of semi-truck driver accidents are things or situations within your control. Here are a few steps you can take to drive safely and prevent truck accidents:

  • Focus – be keen while driving to stay alert and respond to changing road conditions accordingly. Avoid taking your eyes off the road to use your phone or any other gadget when behind the wheel.
  • Maintain your semi-truck properly regularly – this helps identify and handle mechanical issues quickly, minimizing the risk of accidents. Also, follow the required pre-trip vehicle inspection process to ensure your truck is always in good shape before getting on the road.
  • Obey traffic rules and regulations – these rules are there to protect you and other road users.
  • Maintain a safe distance from other vehicles to give yourself enough room to maneuver.
  • Avoid overloading and ensure all cargo is secured perfectly before making a trip.
  • Don’t drink or use any street drugs and drive.
  • Get enough rest, especially if you’re a long-distance truck driver. It prevents fatigue and helps you stay alert while driving.

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Final Thoughts

It is essential to note that most truck accidents happen due to a combination of factors. For example, a semi-truck driver might run stop lights due to brake failure or make sudden, unpredictable turns due to poor road conditions.

Because of this, it’s advisable always to drive defensively and follow all the tips for preventing trucking accidents discussed above.

That said, there are a few things you ought to do if you ever find yourself in a truck crash. Follow our safety guide to learn how to handle a semi-truck accident.

Also, contact us if you need financial help to replace your truck after an accident. We’re always ready to help.

commercial accident

Commercial Vehicle Accident Explained


As a truck driver, commercial vehicle accidents are only too familiar. Nearly 388,000 truck accidents happen annually across the U.S.

While you can’t always avoid accidents, you should be well informed on how to deal with them in case they do happen. Knowing what to do will help you deal with commercial truck accidents swiftly while minimizing the impact of these accidents.

Our guide covers the essential information related to these accidents and how to deal with them to help you be better prepared for potential truck accidents.

What Qualifies as a Commercial Vehicle Accident?

A commercial vehicle accident refers to any collision or accident involving a vehicle that is used for business or commercial purposes.

These accidents can vary in severity, from minor fender benders to catastrophic collisions. They Can involve various types of commercial vehicles.

Why are Commercial Vehicles at Risk for Accidents?

Commercial vehicles are at a higher risk for accidents due to their size, weight, limited visibility, and long hours on the road.

Many factors can cause commercial vehicle accidents, and even the most experienced truck drivers end up in accidents due to their high mileage and the inherent risk of operating a commercial vehicle.

distracted driver

Common Causes of Truck Accidents

Commercial truck accidents can result from many different factors. Here are some of the most common causes:

  • Driver Fatigue: Long hours on the road and tight schedules can lead to driver fatigue, impairing a truck driver’s reaction time and decision-making abilities.
  • Speeding: Excessive speed reduces a truck driver’s ability to react to sudden changes in traffic conditions and increases the severity of accidents.
  • Distracted Driving: Distractions like texting, phone calls, eating, or adjusting GPS devices can divert a truck driver’s attention from the road, leading to accidents.
  • Inadequate Training: Insufficient training in handling large commercial vehicles can result in errors and poor decision-making on the road.
  • Overloaded or Improperly Loaded Cargo: Improperly loaded or overweight cargo can affect the stability and handling of a truck, increasing the risk of rollovers and accidents.
  • Equipment Failure: Mechanical failures in the truck’s components, such as brakes, tires, or steering, can lead to accidents. Poor maintenance practices contribute to equipment failure.
  • Weather Conditions: Adverse weather, such as rain, snow, ice, or fog, can reduce visibility and traction, making accidents more likely.
  • Blind Spots: Large trucks have significant blind spots, making it challenging to see smaller vehicles. This can result in accidents, especially during lane changes or turns.
  • Hazardous Materials Incidents: Trucks carrying hazardous materials can pose additional risks, as spills, leaks, or explosions can result in severe accidents and environmental damage.

Common Injuries Resulting from Truck Accidents

Truck accidents can cause a range of injuries, often more severe than car accidents due to the size and weight of commercial vehicles.

Severe injuries could include whiplash, fractures, head and brain injuries, traumatic brain injuries, burns, and psychological trauma. Seeking prompt medical attention is crucial, as the injuries can vary from minor to life-altering, and early intervention is essential for recovery.

Steps to Take After a Commercial Vehicle Accident

Responding swiftly to commercial vehicle accidents is essential. Here are some of the most critical steps commercial drivers should take after an accident with a semi-truck.

Ensure Safety

First, check for injuries and move to a safe location if possible. Turn on hazard lights, set up warning devices, and secure the accident scene to prevent further collisions.

Call for Help

Dial 911 to report the accident and request medical assistance and law enforcement to the scene. Commercial accidents often involve severe injuries and may require specialized attention.

Exchange Information

Exchange contact and insurance information with the other parties involved, including witnesses. Note the other driver’s license plate number and insurance details.

Document the Scene

Take photos and notes of the accident scene, including vehicle damage, road conditions, and traffic signs. This documentation can be vital for insurance claims and legal purposes.

Seek Medical Attention

Even if you don’t feel injured directly after the accident, it’s crucial to see a healthcare professional. Some injuries may not be apparent immediately, and a medical record is essential for potential claims.

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Cooperate With Law Enforcement

Provide a statement to the police and answer their questions honestly. Request a copy of the police report for your records.

Notify Your Insurance Company

Inform your insurance company about the accident as soon as possible. Follow their guidance on filing a claim and provide all necessary information.

Consult An Attorney

Consider seeking legal counsel, especially if there are injuries or disputes regarding liability. An experienced truck accident attorney can help protect your rights and navigate complex commercial accident cases.

This is especially important if you’re involved in a personal injury lawsuit with accident victims claiming medical expenses. An experienced personal injury attorney will make this process a lot easier.

Preserve Evidence

Keep any evidence related to the accident, such as medical records, repair estimates, and correspondence with insurance companies or legal professionals. The more evidence you have, the stronger and easier your claims process will be.

Avoid Discussing the Accident

Refrain from discussing the accident on social media or with anyone other than your legal representation and insurance company. Statements made publicly can be used against you.

Final Thoughts

Remember that commercial vehicle accidents can be complex, and it’s essential to protect your rights and interests throughout the process. Seeking professional guidance from legal and medical experts is advisable to navigate potential legal and insurance challenges effectively.

It’s also vital that you understand the risks involved in commercial accidents and that you take all necessary precautions to avoid the accidents from happening in the first place. Ultimately, this comes down to responsible driving practices and taking good care of your vehicle.

If you’re looking to purchase a new semi-truck after a commercial vehicle accident, then you’ll probably need to find the right financing solution. Get in touch with us at Mission Financial, where we can help you secure financing for your commercial vehicle with ease.

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Semi Truck Accident (What To Do)

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There are roughly 388,000 semi-truck accidents each year in the US.

Semi-truck accidents are the last thing you want to experience as a professional truck driver. However, you can’t always avoid them.

You need to know how to deal with an accident swiftly and professionally. If you ever find yourself in a truck accident, make sure you follow these steps.

How To Handle a Semi-Truck Accident

1. Ensure Safety First

First and foremost, check yourself and others involved in the accident for injuries. Call 911 immediately if anyone is seriously injured.

While there’s a lot to do after a commercial truck accident, the first priority should always be making sure everyone is safe.

Even if the accident seemed minor and no real injuries seem present, you should still consider seeing a doctor after the incident just to make sure you’re safe. In many cases, injuries after an accident won’t show themselves immediately.

Once you’ve assessed the damage and have made any necessary calls to medics and emergency services, it’s time to start clearing the accident and gathering the necessary information for insurance companies.

2. Check Your Cargo

Semi-trucks could haul just about anything. After a semi-truck accident, you’ll want to make sure that your cargo is safe before moving the vehicle. In many cases, cargo can come loose, causing an even greater accident when you try to move the truck.

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Of course, if you’re hauling dangerous cargo or if you crashed a tanker truck, then you’ll need to alert emergency services about this. Certain cargo could result in greater dangers, like the risk of fires or explosions, after the crash.

Once all people involved in the truck accident have been accounted for, and the cargo has been safely dealt with, then the next steps are all about dealing with the aftermath of the crash.

3. Move to a Safe Location

This might not always be possible, as vehicles are often damaged beyond use in truck accidents. But, if it’s safe to do so, move your vehicle(s) out of the flow of traffic to prevent further accidents or hazards.

If your truck is obstructing the road, try to just pull over to the side. You do not want to drive away or get too far from the accident scene, but you should try to clear up the road and any traffic if it’s possible.

If you are not able to clear any vehicles, make sure that local traffic services have been alerted so that they can redirect traffic.

4. Call the Police

Now that the immediate safety actions are out of the way, you’ll need to notify local police services about the accident.

Report the accident to the police, even if it seems minor. A police report can be crucial for insurance claims and legal purposes. As mentioned above, you might also need the police to help clear the road.

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Even if you don’t think it’s necessary at the moment, having an official police report of the incident will make dealing with the semi-truck accident far easier.

5. Exchange Information With the Driver

Now that the immediate actions after the semi-truck accident have been taken care of, it’s time to start gathering evidence of the event. The first step here is to exchange contact details with the owner of the other vehicle involved.

Exchange contact and insurance information with any other involved parties. Be sure to collect their:

  • Name, address, and phone number
  • Driver’s license number
  • License plate number
  • Insurance information

This information is essential for making your insurance claim or helping you negotiate a settlement with the driver.

When doing this, try your best not to get emotional or into an argument with the driver. Simply gather as many details as you can and start processing the post-accident activities.

6. Document the Scene

You’ll need to have a clear picture of the accident scene with as much relevant evidence as possible. The more you can document the accident scene, the easier it will be to make an insurance claim and potentially offer evidence against the other driver.

Take photos of the accident scene, vehicle damage, road conditions, and any relevant road signs or signals. This can be valuable evidence later. Always try to gather photo or video evidence first.

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Accidents can happen very fast and the small details are often forgotten. So, before leaving the scene of the accident, ensure you recollect exactly what happened. It could be worth writing this down straight away so that you have a consistent and accurate story about how the accident took place.

7. Identify Witnesses

This isn’t always possible, but if there are witnesses to the accident, collect their contact information. They may be able to provide statements to support your case. They could also help supply you with a more accurate account of how the accident happened.

Simply gather their contact details and their perspective on the accident. The more accounts and evidence you have around the accident, the easier your claims process will be.

8. Get Your Truck Safely Removed From the Site

One of the most important parts of dealing with a truck accident is clearing the site of the accident.

This is much easier to do for regular cars, as tow trucks can simply pull them away. However, with a semi-truck, this gets more complicated.

Even if you think your truck is in good condition, it’s important that you thoroughly inspect it before driving away. A small issue with the truck could turn out to be a far bigger problem later on if you keep driving with it.

So, if you’re unsure about the state of your vehicle, then it would be best to have the truck professionally towed to a mechanic. They can give the semi-truck a detailed inspection before letting you drive off again with it.

You’ll also need to have the truck assessed by a recognized mechanic in order for you to get a cost of damage quote to show the insurance company.

Remember, your semi-truck is an incredibly valuable and important part of your trucking business. Spending a bit extra to have it carefully towed and assessed can end up saving you money in the long run.

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9. Seek Medical Attention

If you’ve just been involved in a semi-truck accident, then you’ll want to seek medical attention.

Even if you don’t feel seriously injured, it’s advisable to seek medical attention. Some injuries may not be immediately apparent, and a medical evaluation can document your condition.

And if you do have any medical issues that resulted from the accident, you’ll need to have a proper doctor’s account of your condition if you’re going to make any kind of medical claims.

10. Notify Your Insurance Company

Most of the hard work of “cleaning up” the accident is now behind you. However, one of the biggest steps in dealing with an accident is contacting your insurance provider and making an insurance claim.

Report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible. The sooner they hear about the accident, the faster and easier your claims process will be.

Provide them with all the information you collected at the scene of the accident, including the pictures, witness statements, and your own account of the accident.

This is why it’s so important that you understand your commercial truck insurance broker’s claims process early on, as this will help you make swift and efficient claims if and when you need to.

11. Avoid Discussing Fault

Do not admit fault or apologize for the accident, even if you believe you may have contributed to it. Fault can be determined by a thorough investigation.

You can leave issues like this up to attorneys – it’s not something you should argue over.

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12. Consult an Attorney

If you’re injured or if the accident involves complex legal issues, consider consulting an attorney who specializes in personal injury or accident cases. Finding the right attorney for commercial truck accidents is an important step for anyone who runs a trucking business, as they will help to make any disputes or claims a far easier process.

13. Preserve Evidence

Make sure that you keep all documents related to the accident, including medical records, repair estimates, and correspondence with insurance companies and legal counsel. You will need these documents for any claims or legal proceedings, and you never know when they might be requested.

14. Follow Through

Cooperate with law enforcement, your insurance company, and any legal representatives you hire.

Stay informed about the progress of your case and make sure you know what’s going on, but remember to be patient too. Unfortunately, delays with a semi-truck accident can take time.

Conclusion

While semi-truck accidents can’t always be avoided, the way you deal with them determines how quickly you’ll be able to get past the accident and back on the road. Following the steps above should help you achieve this.

If you need to replace your semi-truck after an accident, then you’ll need to find the right funding. Get in touch with us at Mission Financial to see just how easy accessing semi-truck financing can be.

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