Driving a semi truck or tractor-trailer requires special training and expertise. When truck drivers fail to operate their vehicles safely, the results can be catastrophic for the drivers and passengers in the vehicles around them.
While many accidents cannot be avoided, here are five common truck driver errors you can watch out for when sharing the road with semi trucks and tractor trailers. Your awareness of these mistakes can help keep you and your passengers as safe as possible as you share the roadway with these big rigs.
1. Wide Turns: Truckers Don’t Always Make Them in a Proper Manner
We’ve all seen the “WIDE TURNS” warning stickers on tractor trailers. Well, those stickers are there for a reason. In order to stay on the pavement and avoid clipping signposts, electrical poles, and pedestrians standing on the corner, truck drivers often need to use multiple lanes to make these difficult maneuvers.
When preparing to make a turn, truck drivers should wait until the intersection is clear. This includes watching for vehicles in their blind spots in parallel lanes. However, this does not always occur.
2. Blind Spots
Speaking of blind spots, truckers are supposed to remain cognizant of them at all times – not just in turning situations. Truck drivers often have multiple blind spots, including directly behind them, close in front of them and along the sides of the trailer. Motorcycles and smaller cars are particularly prone to falling out of view when truck drivers are not diligent about maintaining awareness of their surroundings.
3. Truckers Sometimes Fail to Allow for Adequate Stopping Distances
Fully-loaded trucks weigh as much as 80,000 pounds, and they require more stopping distance than the average commuter vehicle. As a result, truck drivers are required to make sure they leave plenty of room between their vehicles and the cars in front of them. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen. So, drivers beware: truckers who tailgate and drive aggressively are much more likely to cause a serious accident when traffic stops abruptly.
4. Aggressive Driving
Aggressive truck driving is one of the most common causes of both 18 wheeler accidents and commercial vehicle accidents. Commercial drivers work long hours under stressful conditions, which often makes them more prone to tailgating, speeding, making sudden maneuvers, or trying to get another driver’s attention. All of these things put truck drivers at greater risk of causing an accident. If you see a trucker driving erratically or dangerously, stay as far back as possible and notify the authorities.
5. Bad Driving, Improper Maintenance, and Failure to Secure Cargo
Finally, in addition to the issues mentioned above, we regularly see trucking accidents that result from a wide range of other errors – on the part of the trucker and on the part of the trucking company. Bad driving, improper maintenance, and improperly-secured cargo loads can all present dangerous situations. Such errors commonly result in:
- Shifting cargo loads
- Weaving trailers
- Shredding tires
- Excessive speed
- Loss of control
These can put both the truck driver and the innocent drivers around them in situations where they are helpless to prevent a serious or fatal accident.
Contact Our Truck Accident Attorneys at Morrow & Sheppard LLP for a Free Consultation
Our Houston truck accident lawyers provide experienced representation for victims of trucking accidents. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in an accident involving a commercial vehicle, contact us to schedule a free consultation.