Safely driving a tractor trailer and avoiding semi truck accidents requires great driver skill. Unfortunately, when drivers make mistakes deadly semi truck wrecks are often the result. Driver errors such as those listed below are responsible for the highest number of at-fault semi wrecks.
Drug Use Caused Errors
An estimated 44% of all semi truck accidents involve the use of some kind of drug. Drivers cannot use any illegal substances because many of them affect their ability to safely drive a truck. Operators may also not drive when taking any kind of prescription medication that could cause drowsiness or other side effects that reduce attentiveness and reaction time.
Despite these rules and the drug tests that drivers can face, many still use substances that cause them to make costly mistakes.
Driver Fatigue Related Errors
When truck drivers are tired, both their cognitive ability and reaction time go down considerably; they are also more easily distracted. This greatly increases the possibility of semi truck wrecks. All drivers are required to adhere to strict Hours of Service laws that ensure they are not behind the wheel too many hours and do get enough rest.
Still, many drivers either breach the HOS restrictions or fail to get the quality rest they need during their off time. Lack of rest is one of the most significant underlying factors in many driver errors that lead to dangerous semi wrecks.
Front Brake Depowering
Many drivers depower the front brakes on their tractors to preserve them to circumvent the need to replace them as frequently. Depowering front brakes and relying on trailer brakes to stop the entire rig is extremely dangerous and is ill-advised. As a result, many semi truck accidents are caused when a tractor trailer with the front brakes depowered rear-ends another vehicle because it could not stop in time.
Tractor trailers can easily roll over because they have a high center of gravity. Drivers must always take this into account to prevent deadly rollover semi truck wrecks.
Yet many fatigued and distracted drivers with less experience make common mistakes that result in a rollover. Speeding, driving around curves too sharply or quickly, and unbalanced loads are the most common causes of rollover semi wrecks. These accidents are often due to poor driver judgment and failure to operate the vehicle safely.
Blind Spot Errors
Other common, yet avoidable semi truck accidents are blind spot accidents. Whether backing up or simply changing lanes on the highway, it is the driver’s responsibility to make sure their path is clear by carefully checking the large blind spots around their vehicle. Once again, drivers who are fatigued, distracted, or otherwise unable to think or react accordingly may fail to check their blind spots thoroughly enough to prevent an accident.
Whether they are accidental, due to fatigue or inexperience, or because drivers are not aware of certain risks such as depowering their front brakes, a high number of semi truck wrecks are caused by some kind of driver error. Reducing the number of dangerous semi wrecks means offering better driver training and finding effective ways to reduce negligence and driver recklessness!
Hildebrand & Wilson, LLP
Robert W. Hildebrand, Attorney at Law
J. Daniel Wilson, Attorney at Law
7830 Broadway, Suite 122
Pearland TX 77581
Phone: (281) 408-2190