The causes of semi truck accidents

Being involved in a car accident is one of the most terrifying experiences one can have but an accident that involves a passenger vehicle and a semi-truck in southeastern Michigan has even greater potential for serious injuries.

Why truck accidents can be so dangerous.

  • The Institute for Highway Safety has indicated that a fully loaded semi-truck weighs 20-30 times more than a passenger car.
  • Many of these trucks offer ground clearance height that would allow smaller vehicles to slide underneath it.
  • Semi-trucks require up to 40 percent more distance to come to a safe stop than a passenger car and even more distance if the roads are wet.

How many accidents take place with semi-trucks?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has indicated that about 350,000 accidents involve large trucks each year and about 116,000 cause injuries. More than 4,000 Americans die because of automotive accidents with semi-trucks each year, with the large majority of those (nearly 70 percent) being drivers or occupants of passenger vehicles.

When the accident is a two-vehicle accident involving a semi-truck and a passenger car, 97 percent of the time the fatality is an occupant of the passenger car. As the economy grew in the years heading into the pandemic, the number of fatalities from these commercial vehicle accidents has grown, increasing by about 42 percent from 2010-2019.

How these truck accidents occur

An accident involving a semi-truck can happen for a variety of reasons. Here are some of the more common examples.

When passenger vehicles are at fault

Driving in the truck’s blind spot 

Semi-trucks have substantial blind spots on all four sides. Driving in this blind spot for a long time can place you at risk of an accident because the truck driver may forget or not see that you are there.

Turning in front of, merging in front of, or changing lanes in front of a truck. 

Semi-trucks are not able to stop as quickly as other vehicles. If you underestimate how fast the truck is going when you pull in front of it, you are in danger of being rear-ended by it.

Tailgating

This dangerous act not only puts the driver in the truck’s blind spot, but also increases the risk of a serious accident.

Failing to adhere to turn signals

All drivers are at risk when they attempt to drive to the right of a truck that is making a right-hand turn.

Failing to slow down 

Not allowing a truck to change lanes or merge can be extremely dangerous. Drivers need to give commercial trucks extra room.

Caused by the Truck Driver

Speeding

Large trucks are harder to control than small cars and the faster they go, the less control there is.

Fatigue

Truck drivers can travel hundreds of miles per day and are often either dealing with monotonous terrain or as a “last mile” driver dealing with urban traffic challenges.  It is common for them to drive at night, which disrupts the body’s natural nighttime sleeping cycle. Fatigue is often an issue.  

Poor vehicle maintenance

These huge vehicles require regular maintenance. Vehicle malfunctions including blown tires, steering issues, worn brakes, or faulty electrical systems can result in the driver losing control of his or her vehicle.

 Tailgating

If the semi-truck is following another vehicle too closely and that vehicle suddenly stops, the truck driver may not have time to stop the semi safely.

Distracted driving trucker

This is common for any drivers but truck drivers spending so much time in their cab can lead to increased texting, browsing the internet, looking at social media, talking on the phone, eating, or drinking. Distractions increase the risk of accidents for all drivers.

Falling cargo truck accidents

Cargo must be properly loaded and secured to prevent it from shifting during transport. Shifted cargo can create an imbalance that makes the truck harder to control and increases the risk of a rollover.

Unfamiliar roadways

The job of transporting goods often requires truck drivers to navigate cities that he or she has not traveled. This can increase accident risks if the driver is unaware that he or she has gotten on a one-way road or exit ramp going the wrong direction or misses a turn. 

Less experienced truck drivers

A shortage of truck drivers has led to increasing and sometimes unrealistic demands. Less experienced drivers may more likely be on the road these days, which can lead to increased human error.

Inclement weather

Again, this is a danger to all drivers, but commercial trucks clearly can be more difficult to control if they hit an icy patch or veer out of control because of wet roads, wind, or an ongoing storm.

Truck accidents can happen anytime, anywhere. When you have been impacted by a truck accident, contact the experienced attorneys at Bashore Green who can work with you to ensure your rights are protected. We don’t get paid unless you get paid!

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