The common causes of truck accidents and how to avoid them

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Car accidents happen daily, but when they involve large trucks or semis, the results can often be devastating. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, there are roughly 268 million vehicles on the road today, and large trucks only account for 4% of them. Still, these big rigs are involved in nearly one in every 10 highway deaths.

What are some of the common causes of truck accidents?

There are countless causes for accidents on the road – some of them completely unavoidable. But when it comes to semi-truck accidents, some of the most common causes of these collisions include:

  • Driver error: In 2017, over half of all fatal truck crashes with passenger vehicles were the result of driver-related factors like speeding, impairment, reckless driving, distraction or failing to yield.
  • Driver fatigue: Truckers work long and grueling hours on the road and often don’t get the sleep they require. Driving drowsy is comparable to having a blood alcohol content of .05%, and 13% of truck drivers were fatigued at the time of their accident.
  • Work zone hazards: Roughly 30% of all crashes that occur in work zones involve large trucks. Traffic often slows and stops suddenly in work zones, and narrowed lanes make them especially treacherous for large vehicles.

How to safely share the road with large trucks

  • Remain visible when possible: Keep in mind that trucks have larger blind spots than the average car, and if you can’t see the driver in their side mirror, they likely can’t see you.
  • Pass cautiously: Always leave extra space when passing a semi and make sure you can see them in your rearview mirror before merging.
  • Don’t tailgate a truck: Following a large vehicle too closely will put you in a blind spot. Tailgating also doesn’t leave you much time to brake suddenly in the event of an emergency.
  • Prepare for wide turns: Large trucks usually need more room to complete a turn and may swing wide. Be sure not to block them at an intersection or try to squeeze past them while they’re turning.
  • Practice patience: Large trucks require significantly more time to accelerate and slow down than cars on the road. Try not to lose your patience or become aggressive, as this may lead to an accident.

Your car stands little chance against the size and weight of a large semi-truck. When you’re sharing the road with large trucks, be sure to take extra precautions to avoid a potentially catastrophic accident.

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