Truck accidents and devastating consequences go hand in hand, which is why preventing them is so important. However, that’s not always possible. Trucking collisions are far more common than they should be, with death tolls rising yearly. Needless to say, it’s essential to understand what causes truck accidents and how to avoid them.
Today’s blog is about trucking accidents – why they’re so deadly, the most common types of accidents, and tips for preventing them when you’re behind the wheel. Keep reading to learn more.
Why Trucking Accidents Are So Common & Deadly
In recent years, in Utah alone, over 5,000 commercial trucking accidents resulted in fatalities, with thousands more that caused devastating injuries.
Truck accidents make up 6.5% of all crashes. Of that percentage, 28% resulted in injuries and 11% in fatalities. Over 2,000 drivers and passengers die in truck accidents every year, with most of those fatalities being with the truck’s front end.
Large commercial trucks are more deadly than your average car or SUV. For comparison, a vehicle usually weighs about 5,000 pounds. While this isn’t light, it’s nothing compared to an 80,000-pound 18-wheeler.
With that weight comes sizes. Most commercial trucks are 80 feet or longer than a 10- or 20-foot car. It’s no wonder these trucks cause so much damage and devastation. If an 80-foot truck causes a collision, multiple vehicles will likely be involved, causing numerous injuries and possible fatalities.
Not only can large trucks run into multiple cars, but they can also go over them because they are so much taller. Running over a car is likely to cause severe injury or death.
Cargo is also an issue. For large commercial trucks carrying cargo, it’s not uncommon for that cargo to come loose. Depending on the type and size of the truck’s cargo, that cargo can cause severe damage.
Most Common Types of Trucking Accidents
With how many accidents and fatalities truck accidents cause, it’s a good idea to review the most common types of trucking accidents. Knowing how these accidents happen can help you prevent them when you’re on the road.
- Jackknife accidents happen when a commercial vehicle folds into itself, with the front and back coming together and forming a 90-degree angle. This type of accident can easily cause the truck to overturn or roll over and hit several cars. Sudden braking and brake locking are the two most common causes of jackknife accidents.
- Wide turn crashes happen when a truck is making a left- or right-hand turn and swings in the opposite direction to make the turn. If truck drivers aren’t careful, they could hit other cars or pedestrians.
- Blindspot collisions happen when truck drivers turn into a lane without enough room because they can’t see the drivers already in that lane.
There’s a huge blind spot for truck drivers, making it almost as much the passenger’s responsibility to avoid getting hit. If a truck driver starts merging into your lane, honk and get out of the way as quickly as possible, as they might not be able to see you.
- Truck rollovers happen when a driver loses control of their truck, causing it to roll over onto its side. High speeds, steep inclines, and slippery surfaces often cause truck rollovers.
- Lost load accidents happen when a driver is in control of their truck but not in control of the cargo they are carrying. That cargo, carried by the wind, can hit vehicles, causing drivers to swerve and hit each other.
Broken windshields, damaged tires, and more can result from a lost load accident. Freight shipments in commercial trucks are the leading cause of this type of accident.
- T-bone accidents occur when the front of one vehicle crashes into the side of another vehicle. Running a red light is the most common cause of this type of accident.
- Tire blowouts aren’t always thought of as an accident, but they are, and they can cause significant damage. Tire blowouts result in pieces of the tire all over the highway that other drivers hit. Plus, when the vehicle experiences a blowout, they usually lose control of their vehicle, causing an accident.
What Causes Truck Accidents
There are several leading causes of car accidents. Sometimes a driver simply makes a mistake while behind the wheel, and that mistake causes an accident. But there are also irresponsible and negligent behaviors that cause crashes.
- Driving under the influence. It’s never a good idea to drive with any alcohol in your system. Still, driving under the influence – with blood alcohol levels over the legal limit – is, unfortunately, a common occurrence. Being under the influence causes several psychological effects, affecting a driver’s ability to maneuver a vehicle safely. Any vehicle – a car, SUV, or commercial truck – can cause a severe wreck from driving under the influence.
- Distracted driving. It’s not hard to get distracted these days, especially when music is blaring, passengers are chatting, and your phone is pinging with notifications. Indeed, the classic “texting while driving” problem is still a problem, but it’s not the only form of distracted driving. If you can’t concentrate on the road, you’re distracted which could cause a crash. This is true no matter what type of vehicle you’re driving.
- Drowsy driving. If you notice your eyes drooping while driving, it’s time to stop driving, whether you can get off at the nearest exit or pull over in a safe area where other vehicles won’t hit you. Falling asleep behind the wheel can cause a catastrophic wreck, making it your best bet to take a break. As with the other types of distracted driving, any vehicle can cause this type of crash.
- Aggressive driving. Even if you’ve been on the road for hours and are ready for the day to end, it’s never ok to be an aggressive driver. We’re taught to drive defensively in driver’s ed for a reason. It’s the best way to avoid crashes. Driving aggressively – including cutting off other drivers – is a surefire way to cause a crash.
Call Flickinger Boulton Gooch & Robson
Were you involved in a trucking accident? No matter how mild or severe the trucking collision was, you could be entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering.
Flickinger Boulton Gooch & Robson understands how traumatic a crash is, let alone one that involves a commercial truck. We’ll fight for you to get you everything you deserve. Call us at 801.500.4000, or contact us through our website for your free case evaluation.