Truck driver 'mistakes' often prove devastating for others

You know the feeling, driving next to a massive semi barreling 70 mph down the highway. You can feel the force of the vehicle as it contorts the wind around it, and it is unnerving. It can make you think, "all it would take is one false move by the driver... "

The feeling may be fleeting as you continue with your day, but your initial fear is well founded. In 2017 alone, there were 4,237 fatal crashes involving large trucks. In those collisions, 91% resulted in one fatality, and 82% percent of the time, it was those in the passenger vehicle. What were the most common false moves truck drivers made?

The five most common things truck drivers do wrong

You might be surprised to learn that most truck accidents occur during the day, when road conditions are good. Maybe drivers get comfortable, complacent or bored. Maybe there are simply more vehicles on the roads.

Whatever their reason, some truck drivers make the following choices while operating a vehicle:

  • They speed: With a large vehicle and heavy cargo in tow, speeding is especially dangerous. It can make simple driving maneuvers more dangerous such as taking longer to stop but with less reaction time or making the vehicle less stable around curves.
  • They get distracted: Cellphones certainly are a large part of the problem, but not the only kind of distraction. Grabbing sunglasses off the passenger seat, using one hand to eat food or “zoning out” of their surroundings are a few other examples.
  • They fail to yield the right of way: Driving the larger vehicle doesn’t give someone the right to rule the road. Unfortunately, some drivers tend to take that approach.
  • They become impaired: Alcohol and drugs, including prescriptions, that alter the skills required to operate a large vehicle make simple errors a big problem.
  • They drive carelessly: Tailgating, running a red light or cutting off a vehicle when turning onto a road. These are all examples of being careless with the rules of road.

While we use words like “mistake” or “error” to describe actions that cause accidents, it is obvious that they have tremendous consequence for those who share the road with them.

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