Delivery trucks, semis and tractor-trailers are large vehicles. While there are not as many of these vehicles on the average road as smaller passenger vehicles, auto accidents involving these large trucks can be collectively more devastating in terms of property damage and personal injury and fatality rates than the more common passenger-vehicle crashes.
The massive weight and size of these trucks make them very dangerous on the roads, especially because they are harder to drive – there is less margin for error in a large truck than there is in a smaller passenger vehicle.
That low margin of error and knowing that humans are driving those vehicles, it may not be surprising to know that research has shown that at least 80 percent of all truck accidents are caused by some driver error, either from the truck driver or the driver of the passenger vehicle.
Many of the errors committed by passenger-vehicle drivers revolve around possible lack of knowledge about large trucks and their performance limits. Passenger vehicle drivers may make mistakes such as changing a lane too close in front of a truck that may not have the ability to decelerate or apply brakes quickly.
There is also a failure to signal intent to change lanes, or run in front of a truck. Some drivers may drive in a truck’s blind spot, or be too close behind the truck that the driver can’t spot it in his mirrors and thus won’t know there is a car behind when it brakes.
On the other side, truck drivers have a very difficult job. Because of the size and weight of the vehicles, truck drivers have to be perfect all the time. Almost any slight mistake takes longer to fix because trucks have slower reaction and response time. Common errors have to do with drivers being drowsy behind the wheel or distracted.
They can also pay the price for a bad decision – and just a split second before changing his or her mind and making the correct decision may be too late because of the response time of the truck. Truck drivers who may not be properly trained, may try to perform acts that the truck can’t do – such as tighter turns, turning at a high rate of speed, driving with not enough space between cars at the current speed, or not allowing enough space to brake or accelerate.
Truck accidents can be deadly, so as a driver either of a passenger vehicle or one of these large commercial trucks, it is important that you share the road in a selfless way. Give truck drivers extra allowances when in a passenger vehicle, and truck drivers should always be observant and sharp to make sure you make the right decision every time and defer to the relative speed and agility of passenger cars to get out of a difficult or dangerous situation.
If you do find yourself in a truck accident, make sure first of all that everyone involved is OK and get medical attention for everyone where warranted, then make sure to give as detailed a police report as possible, then contact a quality personal-injury or auto-accident attorney in your area who can help you make sense of the scene, by investigating the facts and re-constructing the accident. Everyone involved in an accident has rights and responsibilities, and it is always a good idea to understand everything before jumping into a blame game for an accident.