Staying safe on the modern roads involves not just committing to sober and attentive driving but also to taking direct steps to mitigate the risks involved with driving. To prevent a collision, you need to understand what primary causes create the risk for that collision.
Given that commercial trucks are some of the most dangerous vehicles on the road, educating yourself about the causes of trucking crashes can help you stay safer on the road. Once you know what to watch out for, you can identify the commercial vehicles that pose the greatest risks and avoid them while driving.
Alcohol is a factor in many crashes
People who get behind the wheel after drinking are a danger to everyone else on the road. That is true regardless of whether they are in control of a major commercial vehicle or a passenger vehicle. You probably already know the warning signs of a drunk driver. These can include swerving, difficulty maintaining speed, increased reaction times and erratic maneuvers.
You should also know commercial drivers get held to a more strident standard when it comes to impaired driving. A commercial driver shouldn't get behind the wheel for several hours after drinking any amount of alcohol. Most states will arrest a truck driver for impaired driving with a lower overall blood alcohol concentration than what they require to arrest a passenger vehicle driver.
Speeding is a major risk factor with commercial trucks
Because commercial trucks are so big and heavy, it takes longer for them to reach cruising speeds comparable to those of other vehicles in traffic. It also takes them longer to come to a full stop when necessary. The faster the truck drives, the harder it becomes to stop in time.
Commercial drivers often feel like they must drive at unnecessarily high speeds to get their deliveries where they need to be on time. While that may please their employers and their clients, it causes a lot of unnecessary risk for the other people on the road.
If you find yourself driving near a truck that is obviously going well over the speed limit, you probably want to take whatever steps are necessary to put space between yourself and that vehicle. Whether you need to slow down or turn off onto a different road, staying away from commercial trucks that speed can help you stay safe.
Exhaustion is often an issue in commercial crashes, too
Driving when you feel tired is a lot harder than driving when you are wide awake. Your brain simply can't handle information as quickly or as accurately when you feel tired. The same thing is true of commercial truck drivers, and you probably already understand that they have a very difficult and demanding work schedule.
Unlike drunk drivers or speeding drivers, exhausted drivers can be a lot harder to notice. However, they may exhibit the same erratic driving habits as a drunk driver. The sad truth is that no matter how careful you are, there is nothing you can do that will totally eliminate the risk you face from other drivers, including commercial drivers.
In the event that you get hurt or suffer serious property damage caused by a truck driver, you may be able to hold the driver or their employer accountable for your injuries. Sitting down to discuss your situation with an attorney is usually the first step toward connecting with compensation.