Every day, businesses around the country rely on tractor-trailers to carry products or supplies from one area to another. These vehicles carry everything from retail store inventory to restaurant supplies. While they do play a key role in the supply chain, there are also some drawbacks to having so many large vehicles on the road. One of the biggest drawbacks is that they often are involved in accidents.
Tractor trailer accidents occur for a lot of different reasons. Some of the most common causes include the following:
1. Fatigue. Truck drivers work long hours, spending a lot of time behind the wheel. Eventually, this can lead to fatigue, which can slow their ability to react quickly in dangerous situations. In some cases, they even become so tired that they fall asleep while driving, resulting in serious accidents.
2. Driving while distracted or impaired. In certain situations, accidents are the result of drunk or distracted driving. Drivers who are looking at their cell phone, playing with the radio, or performing other tasks often take their eyes off of the road at exactly the wrong moment, causing accidents to occur. Taking drugs or consuming alcohol can also affect the driver’s ability to safely operate the vehicle.
3. Other drivers. Surprisingly, most of the accidents resulting from driver error are caused by other drivers rather than by the person driving the tractor trailer. Drivers of smaller passenger vehicles often forget that it takes longer for large vehicles to slow down or that they have to swing out wider to make turns. As a result, they may make errors that cause accidents to occur.
4. Poorly maintained equipment. Vehicles that spend a lot of time on the road experience a significant amount of wear and tear. Without proper maintenance, this can cause parts to break down or wear out. Even simple problems like worn-out brake pads, faulty tires, or cracked windshields can contribute to accidents under the right conditions.
5. Bad weather and poor road conditions. Truck drivers often have to navigate roads during periods of inclement weather. Trying to drive a large truck on snow or ice, in heavy winds, or during a downpour can be extremely difficult. Even the most skilled drivers are often no match for Mother Nature. Accidents are often the result of trucks hydroplaning, sliding, or getting blown off course by extreme winds.
As you can see, a lot of different components can contribute to tractor trailer accidents. Fortunately, there are ways to address some of these issues. Drivers can get more rest and can avoid driving while they are impaired or distracted. Companies can spend more time maintaining their fleets so that mechanical problems are less likely to occur.
Problems like bad weather and other drivers are a little bit harder to deal with. Oftentimes, deliveries need to be made right away, forcing truck drivers to head out on the road even when the conditions are less than ideal. In these cases, it really comes down to the skill of the driver and their ability to drive defensively in a wide range of conditions.