Anyone who drives in Metro Atlanta knows that our roadways are a hub for transportation. Commercial trucks frequently travel interstates and major highways, and even some of the smaller roadways that seem unlikely. Commercial trucks weigh considerably more than passenger cars or light trucks. The average passenger car weighs around 4,000 pounds, but a tractor-trailer can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. This weight, along with their size, makes large trucks formidable.
Accidents involving these beasts of the road are often catastrophic and result in serious injuries or death. No matter what roadway you are traveling, stay safe by considering these 5 most common causes of truck accidents.
1. Driver Error
Whether driving a tractor-trailer or a Mini Cooper, we all make mistakes while driving. Many truck accidents are caused by driver error. Surprisingly, most driver errors (81 percent) are caused by the driver of the passenger vehicle, rather than the truck driver (22 percent). Some of the most common driver errors involved in truck accidents include:
- Drunk Driving
- Distracted Driving
- Aggressive Driving
- Following too Closely
These errors can be made by any driver, and can be dangerous no matter what size vehicles are involved. These errors constitute negligence or recklessness, and may result in both criminal or civil actions.
Another driver error that can contribute to truck accidents is drivers who panic or overreact when they drive around large trucks. Of course, driving close to tractor-trailers can be unnerving, but it is important that drivers do not panic or overreact, or respond with aggression.
2. Poor Vehicle Maintenance
Large trucks require a great deal of maintenance. Trucking companies, as well as state and federal regulations, require truck drivers to keep trucks properly maintained. Truck drivers must ensure that their truck and all connected parts are properly maintained and function as they should. That includes brakes, steering, windshield and wipers, lights, and tires. Additionally, truck drivers must keep records of maintenance.
3. Equipment Failure
Truck and part manufacturers are required to ensure that their equipment is designed, manufactured, and functioning properly. Defective or recalled parts can make a truck more dangerous. Imagine if a large truck suddenly lost steering control or braking ability. The results would be catastrophic.
Similarly, truck owners and operators must do their part in recognizing dangers and preventing accidents from occurring. If a truck driver recognizes that a part is defective or something is broken, he or she must report it and ensure that the truck is taken in for repairs. Owners must also ensure that they are not putting truck drivers and others on the road at danger by sending out a dangerous truck.
4. Improper Cargo Loading
Improper cargo loading may seem like it would fall under driver error, but it is much more specific than that. Truck drivers, owners, vendors, and warehouse workers may all have a part in loading and unloading freight. These parties must all take responsibility for how a truck is loaded and secured. Advances in technology have helped improve the way that cargo loads are distributed, including making sure that trucks are not overweight or imbalanced. Unfortunately, even with the help of technology, errors in loading or securing cargo are a common cause of truck accidents.
5. Inclement Weather Conditions
Poor weather conditions make driving more dangerous for anyone. For truck drivers, inclement weather conditions have an even greater impact. Rain, ice, or snow can impact how well a large truck handles, as well as how secure a load stays. Changes in temperature can also have an effect on tires and cargo. Truck drivers must be properly trained in how to manage poor weather conditions. Drivers should be taught to slow down, learn braking techniques for various weather conditions, and how to manage situations like hydroplaning or jackknifing.
What to Do After a Truck Accident
If you have been injured in an accident involving a large truck, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and losses. After a truck accident, your first priority is getting the medical care that you need. Next, you may find it helpful to contact a truck accident attorney to discuss your situation.
If the truck accident that caused your injuries was caused by someone else’s negligence or recklessness, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against that party or parties. In doing so, you can hold the responsible party accountable, and pursue financial compensation for your:
- Medical Expenses
- Lost Wages
- Pain and Suffering
- Punitive Damages
To find out what your options are, contact The Embry Law Firm today. Our Douglasville truck accident lawyer can help you understand your situation, protect your legal rights, and get the justice and compensation that you deserve. To schedule your free consultation, call 844-443-6279 or fill out our online form.