Large tractor trailers are a vital part of the American economic system and people depend on these massive vehicles to deliver much needed goods to all parts of the country. Yet the sheer size and weight of commercial vehicles makes them more dangerous to other drivers on the road. In 2017 alone, 4,657 people were killed in large truck accidents, which is an increase from the 4,251 people who were killed in similar accidents the year before, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It is critical that all drivers understand the top causes of large truck accidents so they can minimize their risk of being involved in a catastrophic collision.
One of the most common causes of truck accidents involves truck drivers who are distracted, fatigued or otherwise negligent in operating the vehicle. Truckers are behind the wheel for long periods of time, making it easy to become desensitized to matters occurring on the road. There are federal regulations requiring truckers to take rest and sleep breaks, as well as prohibiting truckers from engaging in distractive behaviors while behind the wheel.
Other causes of truck accidents include the following:
- Poorly maintained equipment
- Bad weather conditions, such as snow, rain, ice, high winds and fog
- Poorly distributed loads
Motorists should keep in mind that large trucks are unable to make quick stops and should avoid pulling out in front of tractor trailers. Loads that are not distributed correctly can cause a truck to jack-knife or even tip over if certain speeds are met.