Eighteen-wheeler truck drivers spend a lot of time on the road. This fact puts them at a greater risk than the average driver of getting into accidents. There are a variety of reasons 18-wheeler drivers get into accidents. In the state of Alabama, the following are some of the most common reasons why these accidents occur.
Driving while distracted is always dangerous. It becomes more so when the vehicle being driven is an 18-wheeler. If a truck driver is distracted by text messages, a phone call, changing the radio station, or anything else that can take concentration away from the road, there can be disastrous consequences.
Reckless driving is a broad term that encompasses actions such as speeding, tailgating, not checking blind spots, not using turn signals, sudden slamming of the breaks and other actions that are generally known to be potentially dangerous. Truck drivers who engage in these actions put themselves and other drivers at risk and often cause accidents.
Because trucks are so large, they have significant blind spots so truck drivers need to be extra careful when they are passing other vehicles on the road. Major accidents that can cause injury or death can easily occur when truck drivers don’t pass with extreme caution.
Objects in the road
Animals and other objects in the road are a no-win situation for an 18-wheeler driver. Their large size makes it difficult to swerve around them and driving over them can be hazardous to the vehicle. Any option the driver chooses has the potential for dire consequences. A truck driver always needs to be alert and make sure there is enough time to react to objects in the road.
Oftentimes, truck drivers have unrealistic delivery schedules and deadlines that cause them to drive long hours without breaks. When truck drivers continue to drive even when they are tired, their concentration can be impaired. They are also more apt to make poorer decisions when they have not had an adequate amount of sleep, which can lead to catastrophic accidents.
Inexperienced truck drivers
As with anything that requires skill, knowing how to drive an 18-wheeler well requires time and experience. Newer 18-wheeler drivers don’t necessarily have the required skill that it takes to drive a truck competently. This often results in accidents that could have been avoided by more experienced drivers.
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is both unwise and illegal. Whereas it is dangerous and unwise for someone driving a car, it is worse for a truck driver. A driver who is impaired by drugs or alcohol will have poor reaction times as well as poor judgment skills. Impaired truck driving is a major contributor to 18-wheeler accidents in the state of Alabama, all of which are easily preventable.
Improperly secured loads
When the load an 18-wheeler is carrying isn’t secured properly it can easily cause an accident. Falling debris, unstable truck beds and leaking fluids can all contribute to hazardous conditions that put both the truck driver and nearby vehicles at risk of an accident. Improperly secured loads can result in accidents such as jackknives and rollovers that can have tragic results. Truck drivers should double and triple check to make sure their trailers are restrained and their loads are secure before they go out on the road in order to keep themselves and others on the road safe.
Although manufacturers have a responsibility to make sure their trucks leave the factory in prime condition, occasionally an 18-wheeler can come from the manufacturer with defects. Even minor defects can be disastrous for a truck driver, especially if the issue is unknown. Drivers should make every possible effort to make sure their trucks are in perfect working order before going out on the road.
Road and weather conditions
Poor road conditions and severe weather are also major contributors to 18-wheeler accidents in Alabama. Roads are often slick from rain and snow. These conditions can cause skidding that can lead to accidents. In the warmer months, truck drivers can have their vision impaired by the bright sun, which can also lead to accidents. Road conditions that can contribute to 18-wheeler accidents in Alabama include man-made obstructions and poor road conditions. In order to combat all off these obstacles, truck drivers should avoid driving in severe weather and avoid bad roads as much as possible. When it is unavoidable to avoid these conditions, great care should be exercised in order to avoid accidents.
Other road users
Even when 18-wheeler drivers are exercising caution and driving safely, other drivers on the road can create risky situations for them. Large trucks are unable to stop as quickly or veer out of the way as quickly as smaller cars can. Therefore, if someone is recklessly getting in their way, it is not always easy for them to avoid a hazard. All drivers need to share the same roads and other vehicles need to be aware of large trucks and drive safely when they are around them.
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