While commercial vehicles accidents are usually only a single-digit percentage of all accidents in any given state, they’re typically three times more likely to involve fatalities. That’s certainly been the case in Kansas and given that trucks regularly cross state lines, it’s a common situation across the country too.
Many times, the primary cause of a truck accident is due to driver error. This has been found again and again, which is why employers pay so much attention to the driver’s record before hiring them. Good driving shows and so does inattentive truck driving.
Here are the 4 driver errors that cause the most truck accidents.
1. Poor Judgement with Changing Lanes
Given the size of most trucks, when they change lanes, it’s a big deal.
They may be traveling slower than other vehicles on the road. Also, they take up a disproportionate amount of space both in their current lane and the one that the driver is intending to move over to. With other drivers possibly accelerating, decelerating, or changing lanes at that time, it can lead to unexpected consequences.
When watching back dashcam footage, it’s often easy to spot when a lane-changing maneuver was ill-advised. Either because of poor positioning, lack of situational awareness, failure to use indicators, or not accounting for other vehicles nearby or fast approaching.
Truck drivers truck accidents aren’t inevitable. However, dashcam footage can prove to be a learning experience along with useful evidence in accident cases.
2. Being Distracted
The number of potential distractions inside the cab has increased markedly over the last few years with mobile technologies. As it’s been possible to take calls, answer SMS messages, and even watch movies while sitting in traffic, truck drivers have a multitude of ways to distract themselves when in the cab.
Distracted drivers do not have their attention where it needs to be. As a result, they don’t see the other drivers and their vehicles doing unpredictable things, vehicle doors being opened into oncoming traffic, or a traffic jam up ahead.
3. Driving Too Quickly
When speeding, it’s easier to make delivery deadlines when trying to make up for time stuck in traffic. However, when doing so, the world goes past too quickly. It’s easy to miss things that the driver would spot otherwise.
The faster speeds also extend the stopping time required to avoid hitting another vehicle or a pedestrian. Increasing speed multiplies the time, leaving a truck driver unable to avoid some impacts that when driving more slowly could have been completely prevented.
4. Refusing to Give Right-of-Way
Refusing to give appropriate right-of-way confuses other drivers.
Drivers have been taught to expect certain driving behaviors that help to make a journey more predictable. When that’s not present, including failing to allow another driver in or through, then the truck will be moving ahead and catch the other driver out. This often leads to a collision through the confusion when the other driver assumed they were being let through because they had the right-of-way, and they were not.
While accidents with trucks can occur due to a failure of a part while moving or purely due to another driver’s inattention, most truck accidents occur due to driver error. Improved practices mean drivers can stay safer.