Car accidents can be dangerous and deadly, but when trucks are involved, the odds of getting severely injured increase dramatically. This is because trucks are often traveling at very high speeds and are much larger and heavier than typical passenger vehicles. As a result, truck accidents often cause serious injuries or fatalities to the passengers and drivers of smaller vehicles involved in the collision.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 4,119 people died in large truck crashes in 2019. 16% of these deaths were truck occupants, 67% were occupants of cars and other passenger vehicles, and 15% were pedestrians, bicyclists, or motorcyclists.
So, why are truck accidents so dangerous?
Trucks are tall and extremely heavy
Eighteen-wheeler trucks are significantly larger and heavier than passenger cars, making it an important factor in the intensity of an accident. On average, semi-trucks are around 72 feet long, 13.5 feet tall, and 8.5 feet wide. They also weigh around 80,000 pounds. Compared to this, passenger cars usually measure around 15 feet long, 6 feet tall, and 5 feet wide. And most passenger cars only weigh around 4,000 pounds.
Taking these numbers into account, the injuries and damage sustained in a truck accident can be very severe and fatal.
Trucks carry heavy loads
Commercial trucks carry various types of cargo, some of which are often heavy or hazardous. It’s even more likely to cause severe injuries if the cargo isn’t properly loaded, the materials are flammable or toxic, or if the truck is loaded more than its maximum capacity.
Truck drivers are required to ensure that their cargo is secure before hitting the road. It is the truck drivers’ responsibility to make sure that cargo is properly loaded and attached to the truck, and that it doesn’t exceed the specified weight limit. Failure to follow these guidelines can exacerbate the injuries sustained when a truck is involved in an accident.
Truck drivers adhere to strict delivery schedules
Trucking companies often require their drivers to deliver cargo within a strict schedule. To meet their deadlines, drivers usually have little to no rest or breaks between deliveries. A sleepy driver might fall asleep on the wheel, or react more slowly if they have to suddenly brake or steer to avoid an accident. Therefore, having an overworked, tired truck driver is one of the common reasons why truck accidents happen on the road.
What can truck drivers do to prevent truck accidents?
Get enough sleep. Fatigue happens when a person doesn’t get sufficient, quality sleep. If you’re a truck driver, make sure to get at least 7 hours of sleep every day. Take breaks whenever you feel tired or overworked. And if you feel drowsy on the road, you can pull over and rest.
Ensure that your vehicle is well-maintained. Before hitting the road, make sure to perform the necessary vehicle and equipment checks. The trucking company should be responsible for this, but it’s best if you do your own safety checks as well.
Load your cargo properly. See to it that your cargo is tightly tied down or fastened to your truck. Don’t go over the maximum weight limit for your truck’s cargo. If you’re carrying hazardous cargo, make sure that you know the proper handling procedures.
Don’t drive and under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Any amount of alcohol can impair your driving ability. Do not drink alcohol or take drugs if you’re going to be driving any kind of vehicle. If you need to take prescription medicine, check the label or ask a doctor or pharmacist if it causes drowsiness.
Practice defensive driving. Drive to save lives, time, and money. Prioritize your safety and those of others before your job.
If you have been involved in a truck accident, get in touch with us at 801-INJURED. Our attorneys have handled numerous truck accident cases and we can give you reliable legal representation during negotiations and settlement. For your free consultation, you may call us at 801 (465-8733) or simply fill out this online form. There’s absolutely no obligation to use our services, and we will discuss your case with you at no charge.