Truck accidents can be utterly devastating, costing lives and millions of dollars. If you’re ever involved in one, it could take you years to recover. In some cases, you may never recover fully. And it’s even more tragic to learn that most truck accidents are entirely preventable.
So why do they happen?
What to Do If You’re in a Truck Accident
Truck accidents are uniquely devastating in the realm of traffic accidents because of the weight and speed at which these vehicles are usually traveling. They can cause far more damage than a conventional, personal vehicle.
So what should you do if you’re in a truck accident?
First, try to remain calm, even if you’re injured. It’s important to get you and your passengers to a safe position as quickly as possible. If your car is drivable, that means getting it to the side of the road. It’s also advisable to cautiously assist your passengers in getting out of the vehicle so you can safely wait for help; however, you should not move someone who may have a spine or neck injury. Once you’re safe, you can contact emergency services to get medical attention and contact the police so you can file a formal police report.
After getting medical attention, call a truck accident lawyer who can help you understand your legal position. They can help you understand the nature of the accident you were just in and guide you in navigating the legal process from here.
Depending on how the accident unfolded and the damages you sustained, you may be entitled to compensation.
Why Most Truck Accidents Happen
About 97 percent of accidents are preventable. Truck accidents are no different.
These are some of the most common reasons why truck accidents occur:
- Distracted driving. Distracted driving is on the rise for truck drivers as well as typical motorists. This is largely due to the increase in availability of mobile technologies like smartphones. If you get a text while driving, or if you decide to check your email, just for a second, you’re going to take your eyes off the road and render yourself vulnerable to getting into an accident.
- Intoxicated driving. Truck drivers should know as well as anyone that intoxicated driving is a huge mistake, yet every year, at least some truck drivers get into accidents while under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicating substances. If you see a truck driving erratically, keep your distance.
- Driver fatigue. Driving a truck is a physically and mentally demanding career. Even if you have a lot of stamina and resilience, the demands of this job can render you excessively fatigued. Once you hit a certain point of exhaustion, an accident becomes far more likely.
- Reckless driving, speeding, etc. Some truck drivers are motivated to complete their routes as quickly as possible; while this, by itself, isn’t a bad thing, it can lead to problematic driving behaviors, such as speeding or driving recklessly. This, in turn, increases the risk of a collision.
- Maintenance issues. Truck accidents can also arise due to maintenance issues. If recalls aren’t addressed or repairs aren’t made, it could increase the likelihood of a critical failure on the road.
- Cargo loading issues. Similarly, if a truck’s cargo isn’t properly secured, it could fall off and cause a chain reaction that leads to an accident, or many accidents.
- Failure to respect inclement weather. It’s not surprising to learn that inclement weather is usually associated with a rise in the number and severity of traffic accidents in a given area. But truck drivers should be responsible for adjusting their driving to those inclement weather conditions. Unfortunately, many truck drivers don’t take the extra precautions necessary to drive safely in these settings.
- Administrative issues. Sometimes, truck accidents are the result of poor administrative practices. Trucking companies may drop the ball when it comes to hiring and vetting employees, training employees, or supervising those employees. This is one reason why liability in truck accidents can become excessively complicated; there are many potential parties involved.
Most Truck Drivers Are Attentive Professionals
It’s important to acknowledge that most truck drivers are attentive professionals. They consistently respect the rules of the road. They avoid distractions. And they would never consider driving while intoxicated or overly fatigued. But even attentive, professional drivers can make mistakes. And not all truck drivers are equally committed to driving safely.
The sad truth is that truck accidents are going to continue for as long as we have a trucking industry. But with better knowledge of the dynamics of truck accidents, you can minimize your chances of getting involved in a truck accident – and respond appropriately if you end up in one.