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11 Primary Causes of Truck Crashes (And How to Prevent Them)

In the United States, there are about 500,000 trucking accidents every year.

While sometimes accidents happen and it’s no one’s fault, other times they’re 100 percent preventable. Trucking accidents take thousands of lives each, which is important to learn how to prevent them.

Here are the most common reasons truck crashes happen and how to prevent them.

1. Driver Suffering from Fatigue

One of the most common causes of truck accidents is due to driver fatigue. Truck drivers drive long distances and log many hours in a day, which can lead to extreme fatigue.

They often feel pressure to complete the delivery in a short period of time, so they drive long hours without rest in between.

Lack of sleep in a long journey is a recipe for disaster and is the leading cost of truck accidents.

To prevent driver fatigue, it’s important drivers only drive the hours required by law and get the proper hours of sleep.

2. Drug and Alcohol Abuse

Driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs is another leading cause of truck accidents.

Some drivers might resort to alcohol and drug abuse as a way to cope with life on the road. Others might use certain illegal drugs to help them stay awake longer.

Whatever the reason may be, driving under the influence, impairs their ability to drive.

One of the best ways to prevent drivers from abusing alcohol and other substances is by performing random testing and having a zero-tolerance policy.

3. Lack of Truck Maintenance

Even if drivers do everything by the book, they will be unable to prevent truck accidents if the vehicle is not in great shape.

It’s important that all commercial vehicles undergo scheduled maintenance procedures to keep them in top condition.

To prevent accidents, it’s important all trucks receive preventative maintenance to prevent vehicles from breaking down on the road.

4. Poor Driver Training

Driving a commercial truck is a big responsibility that requires a lot of training.

One of the reasons many truck drivers get into accidents is due to lack of proper training. Some companies don’t put as much effort into training their drivers as they should.

As a consequence, drivers lack the skills to operate trucks and prevent accidents in dangerous situations. To prevent said accidents, it’s important companies take the time to provide the right training to all of their employees.

5. Going Over the Speed Limit

It’s extremely important that truck drivers stick to the rules of the road in order to prevent accidents.

However, one of the causes of truck accidents is due to drivers going the speed limit. Many drivers exceed the speed limit because they feel the pressure to complete their trips faster.

Since trucks carry heavy loads, going over the speed limit can be extremely dangerous.

It’s important to encourage drivers to always stick to the speed limit and obey the rules of the road.

6. Distracted Driving

Life on the road can get extremely dull for truck drivers. After all, they spend long hours on the road with no one to talk to.

Even the most experienced and professional drivers can get bored and distracted while on the road. To keep themselves entertained, they might look down at their phones, make a phone call, or check their Facebook.

Accidents can happen in a matter of seconds when drivers are distracted.

One of the best ways to prevent distracted driving is by allowing drivers to decompress when they start to get their eyes off the road.

Making a short stop to stretch their legs can make a big difference.

7. Texting Truck Drivers

Although truck drivers can communicate via radio, some of them have started communicating with other drivers via text.

Aside from it being against the law, texting and driving can also cause truck accidents.

It’s important drivers refrain from using their cell phone as a means of communication.

8. Unsafe Driver Practices

There are many unsafe driving practices that cause truck accidents. After driving for so many hours in a day, drivers can get frustrated and ignore safe practices.

By ignoring safe driving practices, drivers put themselves at risk of an accident. Some of these dangerous practices include road rage, following too closely behind another vehicle, not using turn signals, frequent lane changing, and failure to check blind spots.

Check out this article by Tow Mart on safe driving practices.

9. Lack of Road Familiarity

Anyone who has ever driven a road for the first time might find it challenging. Driving unfamiliar roads is challenging because you don’t know the type of terrain you will encounter.

Now imagine you have to drive an 80,000 lb truck on an unfamiliar road. Sometimes lack of familiarity with the roads can cause truck accidents.

The best way to prevent truck accidents when driving down an unfamiliar road is by proceeding with caution.

10. Overloading

There are laws and regulations that limit the load each truck can transport based on capacity. However, in an effort to transport more goods at a time and increase profits, some companies might add extra loads to the trucks.

If a truck is overloaded, the risk of accidents increases. This issue is easily preventable by not going over the load limits the truck can handle.

11. Other Circumstances

Truck accidents can happen due to a variety of circumstances that are out of the control of the driver.

For example, sometimes truck accidents happen due to road construction. Roadblocks that reroute traffic often force truck drivers to maneuver down narrow roads, which often leads to accidents.

Driving slowly and paying attention is the best way to prevent accidents.

Poor weather conditions are another reason why truck accidents often happen. In cases of heavy rain, trucks can slip and cause accidents.

Pulling to a safe area and waiting for the weather to improve is the best way to prevent accidents.

Common Causes of Truck Crashes: Proceed with Caution

Now that you know about the common causes of truck crashes, you will know how to prevent them.

Truck crashes are often caused by fatigue, distracted driving, substance abuse, and unsafe drive practices.

Want to learn more tips of the road, check out the rest of our blog.