What Are Common Truck Driver Distractions?

People who are used to driving oversized trucks might not be thinking about how dangerous those large vehicles are. These behemoths are much longer, wider, and heavier than passenger cars and trucks, and can do much more damage in accidents. Truck drivers are supposed to be 100 percent focused when behind the wheel, but like everyone else, sometimes their attention gets taken away.

Smartphone Use

According to the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration), people who text and drive are 23 more times likely to be involved in motor vehicle accidents. Most people realize that driving and cell phone use is a dangerous combination, but it is a habit for so many. The real problem comes when truckers text and drive because this uses the eyes, hands, and brain. Checking emails and social media is just as bad – and even worse – because there are also photos and videos to look at and listen to.  

Even if the trucker is talking to someone hands-free, it is still a distraction. While a pleasant conversation might be fine, an intense discussion or heated argument takes a lot of energy and requires additional focus. Passengers inside the truck can also compete for a truck driver’s attention.

Loose Items Inside the Truck

Reaching for a device and not being able to grab it leads to taking one’s eyes off the road. An obvious example is a Smartphone, but truck drivers might also reach for a charger cord or a piece of gum. Making adjustments to a GPS, radio, or fan can also cause a trucker to lose control of the vehicle. If something like a cup falls on the ground, a trucker might look down and then try to grab it.

Truck drivers keep in contact with their employers through dispatching devices, and also use these to plan for poor weather conditions, map out directions, and keep their logs. These should not be used while driving, as doing so significantly  increases the risk of a collision.

Daydreaming

Long hours on the road cause drivers to become bored and lose focus, and truck drivers are no exception. Since they spend so much time behind the wheel, fatigue often sets in and that makes it even harder to concentrate.

Eating and Drinking in the Driver’s Seat

Truck drivers have scheduled breaks to have meals and rest, but some still choose to eat and drink behind the wheel. When the pressure is on to make deliveries, some might even skip their breaks to save time and have their meals while driving. Messy foods are even more dangerous because a second hand is often needed. If the food or drink is hot, a spill could injure the trucker and lead to a serious accident.

The Savannah Truck Accident Lawyers at Kicklighter Law Help Clients Who Were Impacted by Truck Accidents

At Kicklighter Law, our knowledgeable Savannah truck accident lawyers work with clients who have been in truck accidents and fight to get them the compensation they deserve. For a free consultation, call our Springfield, Georgia offices at 912-754-6003 or complete our online form. Our service area includes Springfield, Effingham County, Savannah, and surrounding areas.

What Are the Types of Truck Accidents?

Close to 70 percent of consumer and commercial goods reach their destinations via large trucks and some estimates show that by the year 2030, truck accidents will be the fifth leading cause of death in this country. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) claims that more than 100,000 truck accidents occur each year, with about 5,000 fatalities. What are the most common types of truck accidents, and why do they happen?

Head-on and Rear-End Collisions

Head-on truck collisions can happen when a truck driver loses control of the vehicle, and it moves into oncoming traffic. Other reasons for head-on and rear-end collisions include driving while fatigued, driving under the influence, or being distracted by a cell phone. Another possibility is a truck defect, like brake failure.

When the accident impacts the other vehicle’s back end, the underlying reasons are similar. Tailgating can also cause rear-end crashes. Truckers must allow extra following space since their vehicles are so much larger and heavier than passenger cars, trucks, and SUVs, requiring extra time and distance to stop. Without the added distance, there might not be enough time to move out of the way or stop quickly enough to prevent a crash.

Rollover and Jackknife Crashes

Overloaded cargo, tire blowouts, and excessive speed can lead to rollover crashes. This is more commonly seen on curves when trucks can fall over to one side. The driver might not be injured but if there is another vehicle alongside, a rollover could be even more serious, or deadly. 

Jackknife accidents happen when a semi-truck’s trailer and cab lose their straight formation. The cab keeps moving in the same direction, but the trailer swings toward it. The root cause of many jackknife accidents is improper braking. If a truck driver uses the engine brake by mistake or brakes too fast, it could throw the truck into a skid and a resulting jackknife. Nearby vehicles might be unable to avoid crashing into the truck, and this can set off a chain reaction with other ones.

Side-Impact and Sideswipe Accidents

Also known as “T-bone collisions,” side-impact truck accidents happen when the front part of a truck slams into the side of a vehicle. The sides of passenger vehicles have less protection than the front or rear, and being hit by the full weight of a truck from the side can be especially devastating. These crashes can occur when truck drivers ignore traffic signs and signals.

Sideswipes happen when the sides of two vehicles make contact. This can happen when a truck abruptly brakes or speeds up, causing it to veer out of its lane. Oversteering on curves can also cause sideswipe accidents.

Are There Other Kinds of Truck Accidents?

One of the most frightening kinds of truck accidents is an “override accident,” when a smaller vehicle gets pushed under a truck’s trailer in a crash. Since semi-trucks are so much higher than passenger vehicles, many (but not all) have rear underride protection guards. Underride accidents can be deadly, and this is another reason why it is so important to maintain extra-long following distances behind tractor-trailers.

Shifting or spilling cargo can also cause serious accidents. When a truck is not loaded properly the cargo can shift, making the driver lose control. If the cargo spills out of the truck, other drivers might not be able to react quickly enough to avoid a crash.

The Effingham County Truck Accident Lawyers at Kicklighter Law Seek Compensation for Injured Clients

Truck accidents are serious business. You can benefit from having trusted legal representation to protect your rights in a claim, settlement, or case. For a free consultation, contact Kicklighter Law. Our skilled Effingham County truck accident lawyers can explain your options and fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Call our Springfield, Georgia offices at 912-754-6003 or complete our online form today. We serve clients throughout Springfield, Effingham County, Savannah, and surrounding areas.

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