According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, as many as one out of every ten fatal vehicle collisions involves a large truck or tractor-trailer. Driver errors are often to blame. However, even when driven properly, 18-wheelers present a greater danger to other drivers than standard vehicles. In this article, we’ll take a look at five common causes of 18-wheeler accidents.
Knowing What to Watch for to Avoid Truck Accidents
Equipment Defects, Malfunctions, and Failures
From defective parts coming right off of the assembly line to issues resulting in improper installation or maintenance, there are any number of ways that equipment problems can lead to 18-wheeler accidents. Faulty brakes, worn tires, tire retreads, engine problems, and transmission issues can all cause truck drivers to lose control.
18-wheelers often carry tons (literally) of cargo. To prevent this cargo from falling off the truck, the trucking company must be sure to secure it properly before the driver hits the road. Even minor errors and oversights can result in loose loads; and, especially at highway speeds, loose loads are prone to break free, littering the roadway. This can wreak havoc on the traffic situation and often leads to severe multi-car accidents.
Road Debris and Dangerous Road Conditions
Road debris, potholes, unpaved construction zones, and other dangerous road conditions are frequent culprits in 18-wheeler accidents as well. Between the choices of swerving to avoid the hazard or else driving through it, truck drivers are left with two options that are both less than ideal. In either scenario, the driver risks losing control and causing an accident.
Bad weather is also a common cause of 18-wheeler accidents. Truckers and trucking companies often operate under tight deadlines, and weather conditions usually aren’t justification for a delayed shipment. Rain, snow, fog, and high winds can all create extremely dangerous conditions for 18-wheelers.
Of course, this list would not be complete without mentioning driver error. Many truck drivers get their commercial driver’s license, follow the rules, and pride themselves on maintaining an accident-free record. However, others don’t, and even safe drivers can make mistakes. Each of the following is a common example of driver errors that can lead to a serious or fatal collision:
- Drowsy driving and falling asleep behind the wheel
- Speeding (including driving too fast for the road conditions)
- Aggressive driving
- Changing lanes or turning into a vehicle in the driver’s blind spot
- Failure to maintain control after a swerve
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
18-Wheeler Accident Attorneys Serving Missouri and Illinois | Carey, Danis & Lowe
The truck accident attorneys at Carey, Danis & Lowe have decades of experience representing victims and their families in insurance settlements and litigation. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in an 18-wheeler accident, call (877) 678-3400 or contact us online today.