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10 Common Causes of Truck Accidents

As a state with two major highways, I-25 and I-70, drivers of personal vehicles are more likely to encounter commercial semi-trucks during their daily commute in Colorado than other states. The attorneys at McDivitt Law Firm have years of experience in working with victims of accidents involving large trucks and big rigs. Here, we outline the 10 most common causes of these crashes.

1. Driver Fatigue

One of the most common causes of truck collisions involve drivers who are simply tired and unable to make good judgements on the road. There are rules for how many hours of rest drivers need to get, but many times companies push their drivers to make up time, or drivers themselves might make a bad decision and get behind the wheel when too tired to drive. Even weaving out of their lane for just a moment, and then correcting the maneuver can have horrible consequences for the driver of the truck, as well as any cars out on the road around them.

2. Speeding

The result of high speeds with heavy machines is bone-chilling. Big rigs and commercial semi-trucks are not meant to be operated at high speeds, so when drivers take them over the speed limit, it can lead to tragedy. Stopping becomes more difficult, it’s easier for the driver to lose control, and it can prevent other drivers from being able react in time to avoid a crash.

3. Improperly Loaded Cargo

The truck itself isn’t always the issue in a case involving a semi, but rather the cargo on the truck. For example, if cargo isn’t properly loaded or secured, it can come loose. This can fall on the road and create hazards for other drivers and cause crashes, particularly on highways. It is the responsibility of the truck driver and the trucking company to ensure all cargo is properly secured before setting out on the road.

4. Equipment Failure

Proper maintenance and care of large trucks, semis and big rigs is essential for safety on the road. An issue with brakes, cargo beds, wheels, and the engine, among other things, could all create a hazard for the truck driver and other drivers on the road. It is essential for trucks traveling at high speeds to have the truck properly maintained and operated.

5. Aggressive Driving

Even if the truck itself is in good condition, if the driver is not in the proper mindset, it can create detrimental problems for drivers on the same road or highway. A semi-truck driving too fast, tailgating or weaving through traffic, can easily cause an accident. And, unfortunately, accidents with large trucks are almost always very serious for those involved.

6. Poor Weather Conditions

Coloradoans know that the weather can change in an instant. During the fall, winter and spring months, a sunny day can lead to a blizzard and icy roads in a matter of minutes. Because of this, truck drivers coming from another state might not be prepared for the changing conditions. Those who don’t have chains readily available, or who don’t respect snow-packed roads can create huge problems for other drivers on the roads, and even cause major accidents.

7. Distracted Driving

We’ve all seen the drivers who try multi-tasking while on the road – talking to passengers, eating with one hand on the wheel, or sending text messages while trying to steer. Just imagine the same kind of behavior, but with an 80,000 pound machine in their hands. Distracted driving does not only affect drivers of personal cars. Commercial drivers often try to get things done while driving, and every moment with their eyes not on the road can lead to disaster.

8. Inexperienced Drivers

Due to the specialized nature of driving large trucks, a special license and training are needed to operate them safely. However, over the past few years, more and more companies are rushing these trainings and putting less experienced drivers behind the wheel. Lack of experience has been blamed in several recent tragic accidents involving semi-trucks here in Colorado.

9. Failure to Obey Traffic Laws

The failure to obey traffic laws can be a large factor in the cause of a crash involving a semi-truck or a big rig. With the heaviness of the machine, and the size of the trucks, it is even more important for drivers to follow the speed limit, obey stop signs and traffic lights, and to adhere to proper driving, such as signaling when changing lanes, leaving plenty of space between the truck and the car in front of them, and only passing on the left. When these large trucks aren’t obeying the laws, it can not only cause confusion, but also put other drivers on the road at risk.

10. Driving Under the Influence

As with any kind of machinery, it is extremely unsafe for the driver of a big rig or semi-truck to get behind the wheel if under the influence of drugs or alcohol. These substances can impair judgement, slow down response time, and make it dangerous to be on the road at any speed.

Not only is it important for the drivers of commercial semi-trucks to follow the rules and drive safely, but other drivers on the road need to respect these vehicles, be aware of them, and leave plenty of space for any unforeseen circumstances.

If you have been involved in an accident with a big-rig or commercial semi-truck, please contact the legal experts at McDivitt Law Firm. Our legal team has years of experience with these types of cases involving commercial trucking companies, and we can ensure that you are properly represented and compensated for your injuries.

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