Currently, on roadways across the United States, about 9% of all traffic-related fatalities involve large commercial vehicles like 18-wheeler trucks. Trucking accidents, in fact, are on the rise across the nation, with the numbers being up by 20% over the past two decades. That’s an epidemic level.
The IIHS reports that, in 2010 alone, there were 3,400 fatalities related to trucking accidents, and, between 2009 and 2010, such fatalities were up by 9%. Since a little knowledge goes a long way, it’s good to understand how these accidents happen. Learn these reasons why accidents involving big rigs happen, how to avoid them, and when you should seek help from a truck accident attorney.
Common Causes of Trucking Accidents
The ten most common causes of trucking accidents involve fatigue on the part of the driver, highway debris, rear-end accidents, lane drifting, veering off of the road, speed, weather or other bad road conditions, mechanical failure, poorly loaded or secured cargo that shifts, and other loss of control by the driver.
Driving a truck is a high risk. The vehicle is difficult to handle and prone to imbalance. Truckers need to be constantly vigilant against these and other unforeseen circumstances all over the road, and other drivers also need to be alert and aware to avoid accidents.
Avoiding Trucking Accidents
Avoiding trucking accidents is much the same as avoiding any other kind of accident. It requires vigilance, attentiveness, and care. To avoid any accidents, the two most important things you can do are to be careful to drive the speed limit and to never drive fatigued. Make sure you’re very well rested and alert.
By driving the speed limit—or a reasonable speed for the weather conditions—you can also keep an eye out for road debris that could cause you or another driver to swerve and result in an accident. Also, never assume another driver is going to do the right, responsible thing. In fact, always assume the worst. That way, if the worst happens, you’ll be prepared to react.
Obey traffic laws. Watch for signs, use your turn signals, and give yourself plenty of space and time to brake. Always keep your vehicle in the best possible condition. Have regular maintenance and inspections done. Finally, put your cell phone down. Don’t even think about it when you’re driving. Studies prove that drivers who use their cell phone are just as dangerous as drunk drivers.
Calling a Truck Accident Attorney
The above cautions are good for truckers and any driver on the road. Following them will keep you out of accidents. However, if you are hurt in an accident with a big rig, you should definitely call a truck accident attorney for help. The right attorney can help give you the best shot at full compensation for your medical bills, pain and suffering, lost relationships and more. For assistance with getting compensation in the Charleston, West Virginia area, contact Stewart Bell, PLLC and schedule a free consultation today. We look forward to working with you!