If you look at commercial truck accident statistics, over half a million truck accidents happen annually across the U.S. As a truck driver, you must be clued up about the types of accidents that occur and what kind of impact they could have.
To help you be more prepared for the roads, here’s a breakdown of commercial motor vehicle crashes and what to be aware of to avoid truck accident injuries.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
A commercial truck accident could result from various factors. Whether we’re talking about fatal crashes or minor dings, here are some of the most common causes of crashes involving large trucks.
Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
Operating a truck while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or any other impairing substances can severely hinder a driver’s ability to make sound judgments and react quickly to changing road conditions.
This is a major cause of accidents for both trucks and passenger vehicles.
Truck drivers often work long hours and may experience fatigue due to extended shifts and irregular sleep patterns. Fatigued drivers have slower reaction times and impaired decision-making abilities.
Excessive speed significantly increases the likelihood of accidents.
Trucks traveling at high speeds require longer distances to come to a stop and have reduced maneuverability, making them more prone to collisions.
Distractions like texting, phone calls, adjusting the radio, or eating while driving can divert a truck driver’s attention from the road, increasing the risk of accidents.
Poor Weather Conditions
Adverse weather conditions, such as rain, snow, ice, fog, or strong winds, can make it challenging for truck drivers to maintain control of their vehicles and adapt to changing road surfaces. This is one of the leading causes of large truck crashes.
Truck accidents can occur due to mechanical failures, such as brake system malfunctions, tire blowouts, or other vehicle defects. Regular maintenance and safety checks are crucial in preventing these issues.
Inexperienced or improperly trained truck drivers may lack the skills to safely handle large, heavy vehicles, increasing the risk of accidents.
Overloaded or Improperly Loaded Trucks
Overloaded or improperly loaded trucks can become unstable, making them more challenging to control and increasing the likelihood of accidents, especially during sudden maneuvers or braking.
Inadequate Following Distance
Maintaining a safe following distance is crucial for trucks due to their longer stopping distances. Tailgating or following too closely can result in rear-end collisions.
Many large trucks forget the correct distance between them and passenger cars, which can easily result in an accident.
Common Types of Truck Accidents
Truck accidents can take various forms, each with unique characteristics and potential for damage. Here are some common commercial truck accident types.
A jackknife accident occurs when a truck’s cab and trailer fold inward, resembling the angle of a jackknife.
This often results from the trailer swinging out of control, leading to a dangerous situation. In terms of large truck crashes, this is one of the most hazardous for large truck occupants and other road users.
T-bone accidents involve a truck colliding with another vehicle at a perpendicular angle, typically at an intersection. These accidents can be severe and often result in significant side-impact damage.
Wide Turn Accidents
Due to their size, trucks may need extra space to complete turns. When they make wide turns, they can inadvertently collide with vehicles in adjacent lanes or those attempting to pass on the inside.
Head-On and Rear-End Collisions
Head-on collisions occur when a truck crashes directly into another vehicle, often at high speeds, resulting in severe injuries and fatalities.
Rear-end collisions happen when a truck strikes the vehicle in front of it. Due to the size and weight of trucks, these accidents can cause substantial damage and injuries to the impacted vehicle.
Sideswipe accidents involve a truck brushing or colliding with the side of another vehicle. These accidents can occur when a truck changes lanes without noticing a nearby vehicle.
Rollover accidents happen when a truck tips over onto its side or roof. They can result from various factors, including sharp turns taken too fast, uneven road surfaces, or improper cargo loading.
Blind Spot Truck Accident
Trucks have substantial blind spots, particularly on their right side and directly behind them. Accidents can occur when a truck changes lanes or makes a turn without realizing a vehicle is in its blind spot.
Underride Truck Accident
An underride accident happens when a smaller vehicle becomes partially or entirely trapped beneath the rear or side of a truck’s trailer. These accidents can be deadly for occupants of the smaller vehicle.
Lost Load Truck Accident
If a truck’s cargo is not secured correctly or there’s a trailer malfunction, the load can spill onto the road, causing hazardous conditions and potential accidents.
What to Do If You Get in a Trucking Accident
If you’re involved in a trucking accident, it’s essential to prioritize safety first. Ensure that everyone involved is out of immediate danger, and call 911 to report the accident and request medical assistance if needed.
Exchange information with the other parties involved, including the driver, witnesses, and law enforcement. Document the scene with photos, take notes, and get the other driver’s insurance details.
It’s vital to seek medical evaluation even if you don’t immediately feel injured, as some injuries may have delayed symptoms. Contact your insurance company to report the accident and consult an experienced truck accident lawyer to protect your rights and navigate potential legal claims.
Unfortunately, getting involved in fatal crashes is a significant risk for any commercial truck driver. However, by staying informed and aware of truck accidents and being proactive to avoid them, there’s a good chance you won’t ever have to experience a truck crash.
Getting the right financing is essential if you need to replace your semi-truck after an accident. Get in touch with us at Mission Financial Services to see how we can help you acquire the right commercial vehicle.