Trucking accidents cause many fatalities each year as well as serious personal injuries, including spinal cord injuries, burns, brain trauma, and other serious injuries. Many people can help prevent these accidents. Drivers of passenger vehicles can use extra caution when passing or driving around trucks, recognizing that trucks require more time to brake and respond to situations. Motor carriers can ensure that drivers have reasonable deadlines and that trucks are correctly maintained. Truck drivers, too, can do many things to help prevent accidents:
1) Proper physical maintenance. Although truck driving requires a lot of sitting, it is a physically demanding job. Truck drivers need to take care of their bodies in order to stay safe on the road. Regular, good rest, for example, is essential in helping prevent accidents caused by driver fatigue. Inattention and fatigue often lead to trucking accidents, so drivers need to exercise, eat well, get rest, and get regular physical exams to stay safe behind the wheel.
2) Stay alert to blind spots. About one in three truck accidents involve a truck driver missing something that was in a blind spots. Drivers need to adjust and check mirrors regularly. Truck drivers also need to check blind spots carefully, especially when reversing or turning.
3) Reduce speed in work areas. Work zones involving road construction are unpredictable areas and areas that also contain lots of extra people and vehicles. It is important to slow down and stay extra alert. About 33% of fatalities in these zones involve trucks.
4) Maintain the truck. Even if a motor carrier is responsible for maintaining trucks, drivers should still inspect the vehicle before each drive – damage to the truck can occur at any time, even between maintenance checkups. Check brakes, tires, and give the truck a general once-over before getting into the cab.
5) Place plenty of distance between the truck and other vehicles. Although a truck’s height gives driver’s a better view and allows them to anticipate stops, trucks do require more space to stop. Drivers need to give themselves extra space to avoid collisions.
6) Drive defensively. One out of two fatal traffic collisions may be caused by aggressive driving, according to studies. Driving defensively rather than aggressively can help save lives. Driving defensively includes maintaining a safe speed and maintaining a distance from drivers who behave aggressively on the road.