Truck drivers have a lot to remember when hauling cargo down America’s highways. They must keep their eyes on the road while keeping to a strict timetable, and must follow all of the regulations and safety guidelines that protect others on the road. However, many truck accidents occur as a result of trucker negligence, including taking unnecessary risks behind the wheel.
The most common risky truck driver behaviors include:
- Driving too fast for conditions. Many truckers travel faster than the speed limit in order to make deliveries on time. However, the risk of a crash is even greater when truck drivers are driving too fast for weather or road conditions, such as during rain or snowstorms, in heavy fog, on uneven roads, in construction zones, around curves, on gravel roads, or while turning at an intersection.
- Taking an unfamiliar route. Commercial vehicle drivers will often have to travel to destinations they’ve never seen before and may not be familiar with the roadways. If the route is not carefully planned ahead of time, truckers may attempt to read a map, access a GPS, or call for directions while driving, leading to distracted driving crashes.
- Failing to see a hazard. Crash investigators will often use the term “inadequate surveillance” to describe accidents caused by failure to notice danger. This could include a trucker failing to look before completing a maneuver (such as not checking a crosswalk for pedestrians) or looking but not seeing the hazard (such as misjudging the distance between himself and oncoming traffic).
- Tailgating. Following another vehicle too closely may not cause an accident, but it increases the chances that you will be involved in a crash if something happens ahead of you in traffic. For semi drivers, the distance needed to stop safely or avoid an accident is much greater than in a passenger car. Failure to maintain a proper following distance can be dangerous—even fatal—for other drivers immediately in front of the truck.
- Lack of evasive action. If a truck driver sees a hazard that could lead to an accident, he is required to take all possible evasive action to avoid or mitigate the crash. A driver who fails to apply the brakes or steer away from the obstacle or other drivers may be held liable for negligence.
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