Personal injury from truck accidents changes lives. It is very important to be represented properly with truck accidents lawyers familiar with local laws and issues specific to your area. Find a competent truck accident attorney. Drive defensively and with patience in order to decrease your changes of being involved in in an accident.
The truth about accidents involving commercial vehicles may be a little different than what you might assume from media stories and safety speeches of regulators.
Despite what people think commercial vehicles are involved in less than 3 percent of all car accidents each year. Most of these 18 wheeler crashes that involves other people are not the truck driver's fault.
So although trucking is a very dangerous occupation, one of the most actually, you shouldn't live everyday on the road thinking you are going to get in an accident with a big truck. Your spouse should not either. Truck drivers are the safest drivers on the road.
After reading the info and tips you should be well aware enough to do what you can to keep from being in a truck accident.
(Although it is obvious you can't eliminate the ongoing possibility of being in an accident altogether.)
If you are in an accident, just remember to not hold conversation with anyone as you are checking to see if anyone is hurt. Call 911 and then call the company. Their truck accident attorney will want to know what you said while on the scene.
The less you say the less room for misspeaking, misinterpretation, false accusation, etc... and the less you have to remember to tell him/her.
Trucking Accidents Up Close
That being said, when big rig accidents do occur there are some startling statistics that are ugly for the trucking industry but good for you as an individual if you are a trucker. When there is an accident the trucker is not the one who gets hurt. As a driver You can prevent many of the 18 wheeler accidents that are caused by driver error. Here are some estimated numbers from a study done in
23% Rear End - (This includes a four wheeler ramming the truck)
17% Ran of the road or Out of Lane
10.3% Side Swipe Same Direction
8.9% Roll Overs
Associated Factors Related To Truck Accidents
Prescription Drugs 26.3%
Driving Too Fast For Conditions 22.9%
Unfamiliar with Roads (less than 6 times in 6 months)21.6%
Over-the-Counter Drug Use 17.3%
Driver Fatigue 13.0%
Work-Related Pressure 9.2%
Illegal Maneuvering 9.1%
Other distractions 8.0%
Inadequate Evasive Action 6.6%
Aggressive Driving like weaving, tailgating, etc 6.6%
Unfamiliar with Vehicle 6.5%
Following Too Close 4.9%
Assumptions of Other Driver's Actions 4.7%
Vehicle Brake Failure, out of adjustment, etc. 29.4%
Cargo Shift 4%
Illegal Drug Use 2.3%
Alcohol Use 0.8%
Driver errors like not checking blind spots often enough and operating faulty equipment can also be corrected with behavior changes. You want to do all that you can to avoid a wrecking because it will black ball you from the best trucking jobs and eventually from the trucking industry all together.
Truck Accidents Caught on Tape and the Black Box
In many cases, there is no long a tough argument about the contributing factors that caused commercial truck accidents. If you are not caught on tape by a youtube reporter then you just might be capturing on tape by a highway video camera placed along our nation's highways.
More importantly, most commercial vehicles have computers and electronic devices that capture a variety of telling information. Including but not limited to
Time spent driving
You can call it what you want but the black installed in commercial vehicles is a trend that is not likely to change in reverse. Technology will continue to get better and be used more often to provide more and more information to be used in the event of truck accidents for determining fault, contributing factors and liability.
While it sounds intrusive on the face, it is obvious that this information is useful and necessary to increase safety.
The point is again made that it is best to form the best driving habits to help avoid truck accidents and especially those caused by driver error.
In many cause there will be proof that will determine if the accident was caused by equipment failure or driver error or both.
Truck Accidents and Equipment Failure
One of the other common causes of trucking accidents is equipment failure. These could include things like
Steering component failure
Brake system failure
Tire Blow Outs
These types of equipment failure can lead to ugly big rig crashes. You can detect some of these problems before they cause accidents and injuries to you or other motorist by doing your pretrip inspections which includes all of the mention equipment. Check the steering pump for fluid leaks, and excessive play. Check the brake components including slack adjusters and for fluid leaks. You will be taught the details on these things in trucking school.
Tires are important. When running out west in the summer make sure to check tire pressure and visual condition of trailer tires especially if you are running retread. The heat takes no mercy and increases the chances blow outs which leaves what we call gators spread all of the roadway. These can damage vehicle and also cause accidents from erratic driving to avoid them.
Blow Outs Can Cause Accidents
Tires are under lots of pressure. A blow out can send chunks of tire through a window of a car if it is riding beside you. Try to avoid traveling along side of a vehicle especially cars for extended periods of time. (That doesn't mean drive crazy to keep a car from your side, they are going to do that. Don't YOU ride along side a car.
Steer tire blows outs can be ugly too. It is not uncommon for the driver to loose control of the vehicle. To avoid this, it is advised to use both hands on the steering wheel while driving. This is something that you see me violate in some of my videos which I am ashamed to have filmed in this way. It might influence you to pick up this bad habit. It is obvious that 2 hands on the steering while will more easily maintain control if the steer blows.
What happens is the weight may drop on the side of the blow out and pull the truck in that direction. DO NOT slam on the break. Firmly grip the steering wheel and allow the truck to slow and brake slowly as you pull safely over to the side in a gradual matter.
Truck Rollover Accidents
Truck rollover accidents are the most common factor in driver fatality. Cargo shift can cause a truck to rollover. Tankers are the easiest trucks to rollover when the tank less than 3/4 filled. Liquid has room to slosh around a great change the center of gravity in curves. A new tanker driver could easily forget that he/she is hauling liquid and must slow more than normal in curves.
Cargo on other trucks can also shift and cause a roll over from rounding a curve too fast. Rounding a curve too fast can also tip the truck over if the cargo does not shift by centrifugal force.
The center of gravity of a double stacked loaded trailer can contribute to a roll over. Pay attention to your loads. If heavier weight is on the bottom, with lighter pallets stacked on top the center of gravity will be considerably lower than double stacked pallets of equal weight. However it is still higher than a trailer only loaded on the floor. The higher your center of gravity the slower you need to go around curves.
Truck cabs have improved and are less resistant to being crushed in a truck rollover accident but it is not preventable in all rollovers.
New technology connecting computers, stability equipment, suspension and the braking systems also helps to prevent rollovers. Truck manufactures are using or will be using this and other types of systems more commonly with all manufactures eventually. (in my opinion...safety, insurance,etc no choice if it is available and proven to be effective).
You the driver can be the most effective at preventing rollover truck accidents by being aware of your speed and know when to slow it down.
Jack Knife Accidents
I think the potential of jack knife accidents frightens new drivers the most. Jackknifing is most likely to happen with an empty trailer and much greater with that empty trailer on a wet or icy surface.
It's hard to recover once a jackknife has reached a certain point and impossible after it reaches another point. It is however, often possible to prevent a jack knife accident all together.
Here are a few reasons jack knife accidents occur.
Brakes out of adjustment
Using brakes aggressively on wet or slippery surface
Excessive braking while in a curve
Trailer brakes grabbing more than tractor (balance between total unit)
Breaking traction by accelerating abruptly while in curve on slippery surface
Breaking traction by turning abruptly while accelerating and a loaded trailer pushes the tractor
Using a engine brake on slippery road in curve
If attention is paid to these areas of driving you can help avoid ending up in a jack knife accident. Check mirrors often to monitor the trailer so that you can react immediately if you notice that you are about to jack knife.
Some Tips To Help Avoid a Jacknife
Slow down on slippery surface
Do not use jakes or engine brakes on slippery surface
Do not aggressive accelerate or brake on slippery surfaces
Keep a greater following distance on slippery roadways
Tips for Recovering from a Jackknife
Once you are in a jackknife situation, try not to panic. Steer to straighten back up while getting off of the brake or fuel pedal to help regain traction. Losing traction is what makes either units likely to slide sideways.
Some of the reasons for abrupt braking is from following too close. In adverse conditions make sure to leave even more space so you don't get caught up in someone else's jack knife or so you don't have to act abruptly and create your own jack knife accident.
Accidents From Driving While Distracted
As you are well aware driving while distracted is a common national conversation. It also is a common problem. It has been for a while and regulations increase consistently. In November the latest rules came from the FMCSA banning the using of hand held mobile devices by drivers in commercial vehicles.
New rules went into effect in 2011. Commercial drivers can be fined up to 2750 for first offense and after second offense could be disqualified from operating a commercial vehicle or even lose their license after 2nd offense.
We often associate texting and cell phone use as distracting to the driver but there are other things that are a distraction also and can be cited if mention as reason to an accident occurring. Some of these things are eating, smoking, reaching for something, adjusting the radio and even looking out of the window.
Kit for Commercial Truck Accidents
Things to have to be prepared for a commercial truck accidents.
A camera - take picture of vehicles and surround area
First Aid Kit
Truck Accident Pictures
Cattle Truck Accident
Whatever you do. Don't do this
Fire Truck Accident
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If you have an accident with a big truck, it is important to get an attorney that is familiar with taking cases involving commercial vehicles or trucking. There are truck accident attorneys.
However, don't let the truck accident lawyer influence you to fabricate information to better your case.
We are human and have family too!
Fire and Ice
You will see impatient drivers often as a trucker. Get used to it. Just try to stay out of the way of disaster if you can.
SUV VS Big Truck
Truckers often go out of their way to avoid an accident. They wreck their rigs and still get in the accident. Guess who will go under the magnifying glass.
Some are preventable. Some are not. Wind, ice, rain, and absent mindedness. Accidents come in many flavors. Stay on your P's and Q's.
Watch Bridge Signs
Because assuming that the bridge is taller than the sign states. Sometimes this is true but you can't count on that.
Watch Trailer Tandems
Not uncommon for new drivers. Maybe seeing this will help you to stay on alert to watch your tandems when you are making turns.
Several of these small preventable accidents will get you fired and black balled. Especially if they are all short time frames like the same year. So be careful.
Failure To Maintain Control
He got a failure to maintain speed. Guess that was a break. Question is why did he go in. I have seen where drivers do this to avoid hitting a car. Of course he might have feel asleep too. Who knows. At least he wasn't hurt bad.
This was just too funny
Watch out for big trucks if you are a four wheeler. Watch out for four wheelers if you are a truck driver! 10/4!
We all MUST share the road. Might as well try to understand each other's position and smile. We CAN all get along. Safely, I might add.