Semi-trucks are very intimidating vehicles. Drivers who notice a semi-truck right in front of them or approaching them at a crossroads might feel a little nervous. That anxiety is totally warranted, as large commercial trucks can cause some of the worst possible collisions. Smaller vehicles cannot withstand the force of impact from much larger vehicles, like semi-trucks or 18-wheelers. Many crashes between passenger vehicles and semi-trucks result in tragic consequences. They may cause deaths or life-altering injuries.
Drivers who are aware of the biggest risk factors for semi-truck crashes could have an easier time avoiding such collisions. The following are the top reasons semi-trucks and their operators cause crashes.
Bad decisions and poor observation
When looking at federal statistics on the underlying cause of semi-truck crashes, two types of issues are most common. A majority of semi-truck collisions (around 66%) involve either the driver making the wrong decision for a situation or failing to monitor their surroundings properly. Poor decisions when driving could include maintaining the wrong speed, not leaving enough room for a turn or getting too close to another vehicle in traffic. Distraction and blind spots both contribute to drivers being unable to properly monitor their surroundings.
The third leading cause of semi-truck collisions caused by drivers is non-performance. Effectively, this occurs when a driver is incapable of continuing to do their job. They may have fallen asleep or experienced some kind of medical emergency at the wheel. Non-performance is responsible for another 12% of semi-truck crashes each year.
Issues with the vehicle
Another 10% of collisions caused by semi-trucks are caused by issues with a vehicle. A transportation company might not properly maintain a vehicle or a client may have improperly loaded the trailer. Those vehicle issues impact a driver’s ability to maintain control over the commercial truck.
Others in traffic don’t have control over the decisions that truck drivers or their employers make. However, they can give big trucks a little more space on the road and review the situation carefully after a crash so that they hold the right party responsible for any harm they may cause.