As drivers we hope that we will never be involved in an accident.
Yet many accidents occur and many drivers will at some point experience an accident themselves or will hear of a loved one or family member who has been in an accident. Pretty serious injuries can result from even minor fender benders, so it is truly terrifying to think of being involved in an accident with a huge semi truck. In these accidents the occupants of the smaller vehicles are the ones who stand to lose the most. Occupants of the semi truck oftentimes walk away from serious accidents unscathed or with minor cuts and bruises. But passenger vehicles stand very little chance against these huge trucks, and drivers and occupants of these smaller vehicles are far more vulnerable to extremely serious, life threatening, or even fatal injuries.
Why do semi truck accidents happen and how can we avoid them? Missouri has a high incidence of semi truck accidents because the state is located in the center of the country and many truck routes pass through, driving on Missouri roads. More trucks and traffic means that more accidents can be expected. But knowing how and why truck accidents happen and developing an awareness can help both truck drivers and passenger vehicle drivers avoid serious accidents.
Some of the top contributing factors to semi truck accidents
- Driver Fatigue – Truck drivers work long hours, oftentimes feel pressured to push their limits, and get very little rest. All of these factors combined can make for a very dangerous situation. Fatigue is one of the major contributors to truck crashes. Research has suggested that when drivers have been behind the wheel for more than eight hours they are twice as likely to crash their vehicles. Driving when you are tired can affect you no matter what vehicle you drive. However, when you are at the helm of a massive truck, pulling thousands of pounds of cargo, and you have been driving for many, many hours with very little sleep, the potential for disaster is exponentially higher.
- Driving at night – Nighttime driving can be difficult for all drivers. A driver’s depth perception and peripheral vision are affected by low light. When vision is not as sharp, judging the speed and proximity of a semi truck can be problematic. This is definitely one of the reasons why data shows that fatal crashes occur three times more at night compared to in the daytime.
- Weather – Obviously variable weather conditions are something that all drivers need to get used to. Things like snow, rain, and fog can make visibility more difficult and it can make it more difficult to maneuver a vehicle in traffic. This is true even for smaller vehicles, so imagine what it must be like in a huge semi truck.
- Driver Inexperience – The less experience a driver has the more likely he or she is to be involved in both fatal and nonfatal crashes.
- Road Conditions – Road conditions are variable and sometimes unexpected. For instance, traffic zones can create congestion and slowed traffic. Drivers must be aware of traffic slowing in front of them and be attentive enough to see that coming and change their own behavior. Semi trucks are more difficult to slow down. If a semi truck driver is not paying attention in advance and does not slow down in time, the potential for disaster is huge.
- Blind Spots – Driving in a truck’s blind spots is very dangerous and should always be avoided. Vehicles should spend as little time in a truck’s blind spots as possible.
- Driving Under the Influence – Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is illegal and seriously endangers yourself and everyone else on the road. Impaired drivers, have limited concentration, are less coordinated, have delayed reaction times in many cases, and have poor judgment.
- Distracted Driving – Because this is dangerous for any driver, but especially truck drivers, federal law prohibits truckers from talking on their phones or texting.
Knowing that these factors commonly contribute to causing accidents is helpful in a number of ways. Remembering that truck drivers may be going on very little sleep, could have been driving all night, etc. is a helpful reminder to keep your distance and to not make sudden moves. Be extra cautious. Remembering that trucks require more time to stop, have less visibility, and may have less control is important. Do not make sudden moves or ever take unnecessary risks. Be extra vigilant when driving near huge vehicles.
St. Louis Truck Accident Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been injured in a St. Louis car or truck accident, contact The Hoffmann Law Firm. We can evaluate your case for free and begin putting our experience and knowledge of the Missouri legal system to work for you. Call us today at (314) 361-4242 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.