How to Avoid Being in a Texas Truck AccidentBecause of their size and weight, a Texas truck accident is usually far more serious than the average car crash. There were about 5,100 fatality collisions involving trucks in the United States in 2018, according to statistics from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. That is because commercial truck crashes are much more dangerous than those involving smaller vehicles. Here is a photo from a case we handled recently to give you an idea of the massive damage a jack-knifed 18-wheeler can cause on our North Texas roads.
Texas Truck Accident CausesTrucks are much larger, heavier, slower, and more difficult to maneuver than cars, but many truck and vehicle drivers seem to forget this. These are some of the common causes of a Texas truck accident that we have seen over the last 40 years:
Blind SpotsThis is probably the biggest factor when it comes to truck accidents. Because of their length, trucks have much larger blind spots than smaller vehicles in these four areas:
- directly in front of the tractor trailer,
- directly behind it, and
- on both sides next to its side mirrors, especially on the right.
Speed and Stopping DistanceMany tractor-trailers have a gross weight vehicle rating exceeding 80,000 pounds. Traveling at typical interstate speed of 65 miles per hour, a three-axle truck-tractor with a two-axle semitrailer travels over 95 feet per second (or the distance of three first downs on a football field) and can take up a whopping 900 feet to come to a stop.
Driver IssuesTruckers have to cover long distances with their cargo, and often try to travel as quickly as possible for the sake of efficiency. This means 18-wheeler drivers often take to the road in a rushed and even sleep-deprived state, significantly increasing their risk of causing a collision. Substance use is also a problem. Alcohol and prescription medication often have a role to play in a Texas truck accident. Of course, this is not limited just to those behind the wheel of a truck. The CDC reports that alcohol was involved in 28% of all deaths that occurred on American roads in 2016.
Poor or Unsuitable RoadsTractor-trailers perform best on wide, straight, well-maintained, and dry roads. But when they have to navigate routes with tight turns or roads with potholes or other types of damage, crashes become more likely. These kinds of roads are common in more remote areas. Wildlife Sometimes truck wrecks happen because an animal comes onto the road unexpectedly. This is a particularly pressing issue in rural areas, especially during deer season that starts this weekend. Drivers of large vehicles should be especially conscious of the possibility of animals getting in their way.
Avoiding Texas Truck Accident: TruckersAs a truck driver, there are a few steps you can take to keep yourself and other road users safe. These include the following:
- Get the proper amount of rest. In Texas, commercial drivers can only legally be on duty for 15 consecutive hours, and can only drive for 12 of these. Drivers must also take 8 consecutive hours off after reaching one of these limits. However, if you feel tired despite having time left before breaching a limit, you should still rest.
- Make your vehicle visible when you pull over by using flashers or cones, especially in darkness.
- Make sure your vehicle is running properly by taking it for regular checks and having any issues fixed promptly. Many a Texas truck accident has been caused by avoidable mechanical faults, especially in all the one-truck, owner-operator businesses on the road.
- Carry different kinds of weather-related equipment in your vehicle at all times. You never know how conditions will change, especially if you are traveling long distances.