Large vehicles, such as semi-trucks and buses, present a higher risk of accidents due to their size and weight. When passenger vehicles get into crashes with trucks, it is usually the vehicle occupants who suffer from serious injury or even death.
There are various factors that cause the majority of accidents involving large trucks. Many of them are preventable.
Truck driver and vehicle factors
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, some crashes occur due to the vehicle or individual operating the truck. Weather conditions, such as snow or rain, can play a role. So can driver fatigue, inattention or the use of alcohol or prescription drugs. Shifting cargo can also cause crashes.
Trucking companies are responsible for ensuring the vehicles are in proper working order. Brake issues are common causes of accidents, as are other repair-related problems.
Passenger vehicle factors
Drivers of passenger vehicles can also contribute to crashes with large trucks. Because of their size, it takes different driving skills to maneuver in their presence. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration provides advice for other drivers on the road.
Trucks have four large blind spots: The front, back and both sides. Drivers should stay out of these so that truck drivers can see them at all times. Other things drivers should be aware of include:
- Give trucks extra room to stop
- Stay a safe distance when driving behind a truck
- Allow for wide turns
- Pass and merge safely, making sure not to get too close
Being patient, driving without distractions and following general traffic laws are also important in preventing accidents.