When 18 wheelers and other large trucks become involved in an accident with smaller vehicles, the results are often catastrophic. The sheer weight and size of these rigs can cause serious injuries during a wreck, so their drivers must not only control them but the loads they carry as well. However, accidents can happen to even the most cautious of big rig drivers, and there are a few common reasons that they occur.
Many trucking companies keep their drivers under a tight and busy schedule for dropping off and picking up their loads. When there is a schedule interruption along the supply line, some drivers may feel the urge to exceed the speed limit to make up for lost time. As a result, drivers may make braking or lane change decisions too late. Most large trucks require several hundred feet to brake safely, and the faster a truck driver travels, the higher the risk he or she might cause a serious accident.
Federal laws cap driving hours for truckers to prevent accidents related to fatigue. Under these laws, a driver can spend 11 hours a day on the road in one 24-hour span. They may drive fewer miles in case of bad weather or traffic congestion. Truckers who fall behind because of these conditions may feel compelled to exceed the number of hours allowed behind the wheel. When drivers become tired, their reaction time may fall and they might hesitate while making snap driving decisions that lead to serious accidents.
Even drivers who practice safe driving habits can become distracted while behind the wheel. While some trucking companies ban the use of cell phones in the cab of the truck, drivers may get distracted by other circumstances, including:
- An accident on the side of the road
- Tuning a radio or CB
- Eating or drinking
When drivers take their eyes off the road, whether during city or rural driving, they may either lose control of the truck or strike stopped traffic in front of them.
Limited Driving Experience
Big rig drivers who have limited experience behind the wheel are likely more apt to make errors that result in accidents. While many companies have comprehensive training programs, those that experience high driver turnover or a driver shortage may shorten the length of their training so their drivers can get on the road faster. Accidents occur when these green drivers must make instantaneous driving choices and either choose incorrectly or fail to act at all.
Big rig drivers eager to get on the road may not take enough time to check whether their loads are secure. Trailer hitches, tie-downs and rolling door latches may all fail if not properly maintained and checked during transport. When a large truck loses its load or trailer, it could cause a serious wreck.
Being involved in an accident with a big rig can cause injuries that may change your life forever, but there is help available when it comes to seeking compensation for your medical bills and pain and suffering. Contact a truck accident attorney, like one from John K. Zaid & Associates, today for further assistance and information.