Truck accidents are undoubtedly some of the most catastrophic auto accidents on U.S. roads. Due to their massive size and weight, truck accidents usually result in severe injuries, devastating property damage, and even death. According to recent reports by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), truck accidents lead to nearly 5,000 fatalities every year.
Even though truck accidents are deadly, some can be prevented by understanding and addressing the various factors that cause them. Such factors include driving under the influence (DUI), fatigue, speeding, inexperience, driving in bad weather, reckless driving, among others.
Preventing Truck Accidents
Given how devastating truck accidents are, we must take all the steps necessary to avoid them. Even though truck accidents can happen due to the truck driver’s negligence and that of the other driver, they tend to cause severe injuries to the smaller vehicle’s occupants. The occupants of passenger vehicles are five times more likely to die in a truck accident than the truck driver, according to PubMed.
Therefore, all drivers on the road must understand the potential danger that truck accidents pose and do everything possible to prevent them. Every driver needs to stay alert while on the road to guarantee their safety and other road users. Here is what every party can do to prevent truck accidents from happening:
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What Can Truck Drivers Do to Prevent Accidents?
Since truck drivers’ primary job is driving, they’re usually held at a much higher duty of care to drive safely and keep other road users safe compared to drivers of passenger vehicles. Most truck accidents typically happen due to the truck driver’s negligence.
Fortunately, there are several best practices truck drivers can observe to help keep other motorists safe and prevent accidents. They include:
Prepare in Advance
As a truck driver, before you set out to make a delivery, you must inspect the vehicle to ensure that it’s in a perfectly safe condition to drive on a public highway. While this responsibility may fall on the mechanic or the truck’s owner in some situations, it’s the truck driver’s responsibility to ensure that mechanical issues are fixed as they appear.
Truck drivers’ preparation should also involve familiarizing themselves with the route before leaving. Truck drivers don’t always use the same roads, entrances, and exits when making deliveries, so plan the path ahead of time.
Drive at Safe Speeds
Most truck drivers usually hurry to arrive at a destination ahead of time to make the next delivery or go home. Such factors push truck drivers to travel at unsafe speeds on public highways. All truck drivers must obey speed limits and avoid speeding.
Abide by the Federal Laws and Regulations
The FMCSA upholds many laws and regulations meant to ensure the safe operation of commercial trucks. These rules are intended to prevent truck accidents and reduce fatalities associated with vehicles.
FMCSA laws usually cover the following aspects:
- Hours of service
- Record requirements
- Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) requirements
- DUI laws
- Alcohol and drug testing
- State traffic laws
Avoid Drugs and Alcohol
The legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit for drivers of passenger vehicles is 0.08%, while that of truck drivers is 0.02%. Given the size and weight of commercial vehicles, truck drivers are advised to avoid alcohol and drugs, especially while on the job. This is one of the best ways a truck driver can prevent accidents and keep other road users safe.
Truck drivers usually travel long distances over a long period without any rest. A tired and sleepy truck driver can easily cause an accident and injure or even kill other road users. All truck drivers should always comply with the FMCSA regulations requiring regular breaks to sleep and rest.
What Can Other Drivers Do to Prevent Truck Accidents?
The responsibility to prevent truck accidents doesn’t fall entirely on the truck drivers’ shoulders. Instead, there are some best practices that other drivers must observe to help keep all road users safe. They include:
Due to their massive size and weight, commercial trucks usually require a longer distance to stop. As a driver, you can reduce the risk of a truck accident happening by simply keeping a distance between you and the truck while on the road.
Following a commercial truck too closely will limit your visibility to hazardous road conditions, traffic signs, and road construction points.
Watch Out for Turning Trucks
Commercial trucks require more space to make a turn. Therefore, you must pay attention to that and give these trucks enough space to make a turn on the highway or intersection. This will go a long way in preventing unnecessary truck accidents.
Inspect Your Vehicle
Before leaving your home, you must ensure that your vehicle is in perfect mechanical condition to be driven on a highway. If there are any mechanical defects, you should get them fixed right away.
Avoid Sudden Lane Changes
When driving near a commercial truck, you must maintain predictability. It would help if you didn’t make any sudden maneuvers or lane changes without signaling. This may cause the car to lose control while trying to swerve and end up causing an accident.
Contact Isaacs & Isaacs Personal Injury Lawyers to Learn More
Despite observing all the above best practices and driving carefully on the road, you can’t exactly prevent every truck accident. You can hold the liable parties responsible if you’re involved in a truck accident.
Isaacs & Isaacs Personal Injury Lawyers can help you explore the legal options available and get you the compensation you deserve. Call for a free consultation and more information.