Staying safe on the road typically means you have to engage in defensive driving or at least proactive attempts to minimize your risk. Understanding the risk factors on the road is critical to making the right harm-reduction choices while driving.
As someone in a passenger vehicle, you probably understand that commercial trucks pose a moderate risk to you. They are large, make wide turns, have huge blind spots and don't stop quickly. All of that can lead to increased risk for a serious accident. Learning the biggest contributing factors to commercial crashes can help you stay a little bit safer on the road.
Fatigue is a trucker's constant companion
Driving when you're tired is difficult. If you've ever had to get behind the wheel after an unusually long day, you know it can be hard to stay focused (or awake) after a certain point. Driving can be monotonous and dull even when you are fully alert.
When you are tired, the repetitive motions and humming noises can lull you to sleep. Truckers drive for long hours, which means they are at increased risk for fatigue-related crashes.
Distraction affects commercial drivers just like everyone else
Even if you know better, it can be hard to keep your hands off your phone if it lights up when you're driving. Truck drivers are not immune to the desire to interact with friends and loved ones through digital devices.
Unfortunately, the attempt by commercial drivers to break the monotony of their job by emailing, texting or otherwise digitally communicating could put other people at risk.
Speeding to make a delivery is dangerous, too
Truck drivers must deal with deadlines that can affect how much money they bring home. Delivering a load late could mean losing a client or not getting a delivery bonus for their route. In other words, truckers have an incentive to make their delivery on time even if they can't drive safely while attempting to do so.
Some commercial drivers will flout local speed limits in an attempt to reach their destination as quickly as possible. As a way to make up lost time after a delay in traffic caused by an accident or bad weather, speeding can increase the risk of a truck driver causing a crash with another vehicle when it can't stop in time.
If you believe that any of these factors contributed to an accident you had with a commercial truck, you may be able to seek compensation from the negligent party. Sitting down with an experienced personal injury attorney is a very important first step toward determining what options you have after a commercial truck accident.