Truck accidents can be difficult to deal with and even more so if you aren’t informed on what to do when they happen. Semi-trucks and other large vehicles are common on interstate highways and in rural areas. Accidents involving large commercial trucks tend to occur in rural areas or interstate highways. While there are many causes of truck accidents, collision with another vehicle is the most common. In this article, we will go into detail of when, why and where truck accidents happen to keep you informed as a new or experienced truck driver at Heavy Weight Transport Inc.
When do truck accidents happen?
According to statistics, there actually are specific times of day that truck accidents are most likely to happen. The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (based on the U.S. department of transportation statistics) shows that midweek, during the day, between noon and 3 p.m. is when truck accidents are more likely to happen. These can happen when more cars are on the road during work rush hours, at night when visibility is lower, or on the weekend when most car accidents happen.
- 65% of truck accident related fatalities occurred between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.
- Nearly 18% involved in truck accidents from noon to 3 p.m. lost their lives; nearly 22 percent were injured. Only 13% of semi truck crashes involving other vehicles other than trucks happened during this time.
- The least amount of fatalities occurred from midnight to 3 a.m.
Another fact that statistics found was that most truck accidents happen on Thursdays. The weekends are known for having the most fatal semi truck crashes due to high alcohol use, but most truck accidents happen when cargo transportation is highest. Trucks tend to travel at higher speeds midday than during heavy traffic hours when speed is prohibited due to the amount of cars on the road.
Why do truck accidents happen?
Some of the most common causes of truck accidents vary due to the driver behind the wheel. Here are some of the reasons why a truck accident might occur.
- Driver Error-
Driver error is the most common cause of truck accidents. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) said that 88% of truck related crashes are due to error of the driver. This can include speeding, failing to check blind spots before switching lanes, and driver confusion. Other serious mistakes are speeding for no reason, distracted driving due to texting, and substance abuse. Another major contribution is driver exhaustion. Being sleep deprived can lead to a high risk of fatigue, which could lead to falling asleep behind the wheel.
- Overspeeding –
Truck owners know that they have to reach a certain destination within a certain time period. This isn’t always achievable, because circumstances can just come up, such as poor weather and bad traffic. But due to the amount of pressure that drivers have to meet deadlines, the drivers normally drive above the speed limit. Driving fast to reach your time period can lead to crashes.
- Driver Fatigue –
Drivers have long hours and demanding schedules. Some truck drivers force themselves to stay awake through long drives when they should be taking a break and resting. Plus, truck drivers are often encouraged to drive faster and longer than is safe. You can drive in severely hazardous weather and ignore the conditions to meet deadlines. This then leads to losing focus, ignoring safety techniques and semi truck crashes. Fatigues are one of the most common causes of driver error. About 40% of all truck accidents are attributed to fatigue.
- Distracted Driver –When you’re driving for hours on end and at long distances, you can get bored behind the wheel. This urge to kill the boredom leads to eating, drinking, daydreaming or even sending a text message. The most common one is using phones to reply to messages or read texts, make phone calls or visit social media. Changing the radio station while on the road can also be a huge risk while driving. Even one second when a driver takes his eyes off the road can be a difference between safety and an accident.
- Driving while Intoxicated –
It is illegal in every state to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. A lot of truck drivers have been found guilty of doing this while on the job. Prescription and over the counter drugs are a huge issue that can affect the ability of the driver to do their job properly. Some take substances at stops in towns, while others use the substances while driving. Regardless of how they use these substances, their driving is severely impacted. It’s important to note that it’s not just illegal drugs but also prescription drugs that can affect things like coordination, judgement, etc.
- Not secure loads –
Whatever product the truck is carrying, it is important that it is packed and secured tightly so that weight is distributed throughout the truck. If the truck isn’t evenly distributed, then it is more likely that the truck will get into an accident. This is especially true when turning or trying to stop. When a product isn’t tied down or stored on a flyer, it can fly off the trailer onto the road into the path of another vehicle causing a potential road hazard or car accident.
- Low Filled Liquid Loads –
A lot of trucks transport liquids like gas or oil. These trucks are designed to hold a certain amount of liquid before they are full. It can be really dangerous to keep the truck partially full, the liquids can splash around in the trailer and cause the truck to sway back and forth with turns and changes in speed. If a liquid has a sudden movement, a driver can lose control of the car and cause an accident.
- Rear-end crashes –
A rear-end crash can happen when a driver fails to slow their vehicle in time to prevent a crash with a car in front of them. The truck will then strike in the rear, and with a huge force. A car is not capable of taking this heavy of an impact and will most likely lead to a huge collision.
- Lack of training –
A lot of people demand truck drivers, and the sad truth is that some trucking companies do not train or work on their drivers’ skills. This leads to dangerous and severe accidents, especially since trucks are heavy and large. Before truck drivers can be allowed to drive huge commercial vehicles on public roads, they are required to put in a certain number of training hours to meet requirements. However, not all truck drivers can adhere to the requirements. This leads to a poorly trained truck driver. This is why it is important to get connected with a well-trained trucking company such as Heavy Weight Transport Inc. We will make sure that you are safe for the road and can get the training you need.
- Lack of Truck Maintenance-
It is imperative for truck drivers to keep their cars in mint condition. But at the same time, there are costs and time involved in maintaining semi-trucks. Additionally, 29% of truck accidents involve brake failure, which again is connected to lack of maintenance, faulty inspection, condensation and overheating. The federal government requires that truck companies keep track of their brake conditions. Additionally, tires can have a huge chance of leading to accidents. Flaws in design, poor maintenance, and lack of proper inspection can cause tire blowouts.
Where do fatal truck accidents happen?
Unfortunately, fatal truck accidents can happen in a split-second anytime, anywhere when a semi-truck is on the road. You may be surprised to learn that most trucking accidents happen in rural areas. It may make more sense that they would happen on city highways/interstates where traffic is at its all time high. The reason why they tend to happen more in rural areas is because in more populated, city limits, drivers are more likely to be more attentive to their surroundings. They generally reduce their speed and pay a lot more attention to other vehicles around them. Additionally, speed limits tend to be lower in city limits than rural areas. Driving in rural areas can cause truck drivers to speed and be more irresponsible since there aren’t many people around, but this can lead to more accidents.
The bottom line is, fatal truck accidents are scary. The good news is, they can be prevented by being as safe as you possibly can, and by making sure that you have enough training and communication between your trucking company before you hit the road. At Heavy Weight Transport Inc., we will do everything we can to make sure you feel safe on the road. As for conditions out of our control, that is up to you. Always make sure that you make responsible decisions to ensure a safe ride to your destination.