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24/04/2015

The Truth Behind Common Truck Accidents

When you have a large fleet of big trucks, you can't afford to have accidents. Accidents cause major problems for your business, incl uding:

  • Accidents injure your drivers and other people, physically and emotionally. Accidents can cause severe injury and even death. You could lose employees, which would affect both your staff and your business operations.
  • Accidents leave you open to lawsuits. If your drivers or your company bore some responsibility for what happened, you could face l arge financial penalties.
  • Truck accidents increase your company's operating costs. You lose trucks, equipment and inventory. You also have lower shipping capacity with fewer trucks available.

You want to avoid these problems, so you need a reliable way to prevent truck accidents. We will overview two major types of truck crashes, single vehicle crashes and crashes due to other drivers. As you read, look for information you can apply today to keep your employees, the public and your business safe.

Single Vehicle Accidents

According to a recent study on truck accidents from the University of Adelaide, the majority of heavy vehicle accidents only involve the affected truck. This and other studies have found truck driver errors and inappropriate practices contribute greatly to these single vehicle accidents. Causes for these accidents include:

  • Fatigue. Drivers have pressure to meet deadlines and drive for long hours. In response, truck drivers sleep less and tak e fewer breaks then they should. As a result, drivers experience more fatigue and perform less efficiently behind the wheel.
  • Distracted Driving. Like most drivers, truck drivers can feel bored while driving. However, truck drivers face longer hou rs driving and have little social interaction. Under these circumstances, many feel tempted to use electronic diversions like cell phones to make up for the seemingly idle time. Those who choose this option increase their risk of accidents.
  • Speed. Some truck drivers cause accidents when they drive too fast for the road conditions or their vehicle's tolerance. This leads to risky driving and more severe accidents.  
  • Maintenance. Lack of proper maintenance leads to brake failure, severed connections and engine problems. Equipment failure causes large accidents and major setbacks for truck operators.
  • Experience. With increased experienced comes increased safety. Experienced truck drivers avoid many of the previous mistakes listed above. One study showed that 80% of truck drivers with less than ten years of experience had suffered an accident.

Multiple Vehicle Accidents

Most truck drivers have many years of experience and a strong familiarity of the road. However, other drivers on the road don't alwa ys have that same experience and skill. As a result, they don't react properly when driving around heavy vehicles. While no one can contr ol another driver, truck drivers should try to spot the following types of bad behaviours and try to avoid them:

  • Driving in No-Zones. Many passenger car drivers experience accidents in the "No-Zones" or blind spots of a semi-truck. Since truck drivers can't see these cars, they often crash into them.
  • Rapid lane changes. Small car drivers often forget that trucks can't stop as quickly as they can. As a result, they don't give enough space for the truck drivers to adjust speeds when changing lanes. This increases the likelihood of a rear-end collision.
  • give enough space for the truck drivers to adjust speeds when changing lanes. This increases the likelihood of a rear-end collision.
  • Misjudging a truck's speed. Sometimes drivers misjudge the speed or intent of a truck and pull in front of them or try to swerve around them in a turn. In these cases, trucks will often "T-bone" or sideswipe the other vehicle.

Prevention

While not every accident is preventable, your business can reduce the risks with the following suggestions:

  • Perform regular maintenance on your truck fleet.
  • Train your drivers to react to common situations and avoid bad behaviours.
  • Use professional truck movers to handle transportation of trucks from location to location, lowering the risks your vehicles and drivers face.
  • Use incentives to encourage good driving habits.

 You can reduce your drivers' risks for accidents and injury with a robust training and business plan. Use these suggestions to improve the safety of your truck fleets.