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Driver Choices and Truck Accidents

Commercial truck drivers make many choices when driving which can affect their safety and the safety of everyone around them on the road. Important truck driver choices include:

1) The choice to stay involved. Most commercial truck drivers are not responsible for truck maintenance or for loading their truck – others do that and the truck driver focuses on driving. However, good truck drivers check loads and trucks before driving so that they can report an incorrectly loaded cargo or any mechanical issues with a truck before these problems cause an accident. Improperly loaded or secure loads can result in rollovers, tire blowouts, or a trail of debris on the road that increases the risk of car accidents. Tires without correctly functioning brakes, truck lights and other equipment are at a greater risk of accidents. Pre-inspection before every drive helps truck drivers notice and correct issues immediately.

2) The choice to obey posted speed limits. Some truck drivers choose to speed in order to make deadlines, but speeding is extremely dangerous. Speeding commercial trucks are more likely to rollover and drivers are more likely to lose control when speeding. Since trucks take much longer to stop than passenger vehicles, speeding can also lead to a car accident or pedestrian accident if a driver is going too fast to respond adequately to traffic.

3) The choice to drive in designated truck lanes. Driving outside of designated truck lanes means that driver chooses to drive among passenger vehicles, and some of the drivers in those vehicles may be making mistakes of their own which lead to an accident. Where designated truck lanes are available, the safest place for a truck is inside those lanes.

4) The choice to pay attention to weather. Weather conditions can affect the slipperiness of the roads, the way a truck load responds, and how a truck handles. Slippery, icy conditions can easily lead to rollovers or multi-car accidents. High winds can rock a truck load and lead to a rollover if a load is not secured correctly. Truck drivers cannot drive the same way in every weather condition. When conditions are poor, truck drivers must slow down and use extra caution.

5) The choice to drive aggressively. An aggressive truck driver frightens other drivers on the road, because the size and force of a commercial truck can cause serious damage. Cutting other cars off, for example, is very dangerous, as it can easily lead to a collision. Yelling at other drivers or giving way to road rage can distract a truck driver and cause him or her to lose control of the truck. Staying calm and professional is essential for a truck driver.

6) The choice to drive unimpaired. Drugs and alcohol, even in small amounts, can lead to sleepiness. Drugs can cause a driver to become distracted and use poor judgment, which can lead to a serious accident. Drunk driving accidents involving trucks are even more deadly than drunk driving accidents involving passenger vehicles. They are more likely to result in fatalities and serious injuries because a large commercial truck can do more damage to other cars.

7) The choice to yield to a right of way. Cutting other drivers off and not yielding is a serious problem because trucks cannot stop very quickly. They take extra time, when compared with passenger vehicles, to come to a complete stop. Therefore, a truck driver who does not yield will often not be able to stop in time to prevent an accident if a collision seems imminent.

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