Car accidents with semis are nearly always fatal for the car drivers and passengers. You want to do anything you can to avoid a collision with a tractor trailer. The most obvious way is to follow driving rules concerning safely sharing the road with big rigs. That is not the only thing you can do, however. Being aware of the most common causes of semi-truck accidents can also help you prevent them from happening to you.
Unsafe driving by the trucker
Most accidents result from the truck driver making an error or breaking traffic safety laws. Examples include the following:
- Exceeding the speed limit or making an illegal maneuver
- Following other vehicles too closely
- Misjudging the speed and movements of other vehicles
- Overcompensating for mistakes
- Being intoxicated, sleep deprived or distracted
- Not reacting properly to avoid an accident
Sometimes truckers feel pressure from their employers to achieve unrealistic goals in delivery. This can encourage them to use unsafe driving practices, such as speeding and not resting, to meet these goals. Furthermore, some drivers may not have sufficient training or road knowledge to adequately prepare for dangerous situations.
Health conditions can also contribute to accidents. While a driver cannot predict or prevent something such as a seizure or heart attack from happening, drivers and their employers should be aware of and monitor drivers’ health to reduce this risk.
A trucker may be driving safely but not driving a safe vehicle. Semis, like all other vehicles, must undergo routine maintenance and inspection to ensure proper operation. This also includes replacing tires regularly, attaching trailers securely and safely loading cargo so it does not shift during travel. Therefore, big rig drivers are not the only ones who can be responsible for accidents. Companies, owners, manufacturers and shippers may also be accountable.
The least common causes are factors outside of the driver’s control. These can be poor weather and road conditions or reckless driving by other vehicles on the road. For these reasons, it is even more important that you do your part to decrease accident risk. Drive slower and carefully in poor conditions, and always keep enough distance between you and semis, including while passing them.
Consequences of an accident
If any of these causes lead to you getting in an accident with a semi, speak to a personal injury attorney to find out your options for obtaining damages for your injuries. While compensation cannot eliminate the consequences of a trucker’s mistake, it may reduce them, particularly financial stress.