Truck drivers carry a lot of responsibility. Trucks are immensely powerful vehicles, and truck driving carries with it its own set of unique dangers. Trucks are created to transport immense amounts of weight, and are therefore much larger and heavier than cars. Consequently, a truck accident can end with catastrophic results.
Even the most well-trained truck driver can engage in risky driving behavior that can end in an accident. Trucks are susceptible to accidents from sudden changes in weather conditions, driver fatigue, speeding, failing to look, or not seeing another car on the road. A great resource regarding truck safety can be found at http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov
Besides being the law, it is critical that you and your passengers wear their seatbelt. A seat belt ensures that in the event of a sudden stop or truck accident, you and your passenger will stay secured properly in your seat, preventing injury or death. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, data from 2001 reported that 60% of all passengers that were killed in traffic accidents were not wearing their seatbelt.
Driving to fast for the road conditions is a common cause of a truck accident. Road conditions that can affect driving safety include rain, snow, ice, construction zones, heavy traffic and curves in the road. According to a Large Truck Crash Causation Study (LTCCS), 23% of large truck accidents were caused when drivers were traveling too fast given the road conditions.
LTCCS reports that 22% of truck crashes occur because commercial drivers are unfamiliar with the roadway. Plan your route ahead of time, so you can avoid trying to read a map while you are driving.
A commercial truck driver’s “No-Zone” is where the truck’s blind spots are. As a driver, you should be aware of where these are on your vehicle, keeping in mind that the car in your blind spot is unaware that you cannot see them.
Driver fatigue is a common cause of truck accidents. The LTCCS reports that 13% of drivers reported to be overly tired at the time of a truck accident. Be sure to get enough sleep prior to your trip. Fatigue impairs your ability respond to hazards and greatly increases your chances of getting in a truck accident
You are following too closely behind a vehicle when you are so close that you could not avoid a collision if the driver in front of you stops suddenly. Large trucks need extra space between other vehicles to allow a safe breaking distance.