Semi truck accidents are among some of the worst there is! This isn’t because truckers are bad drivers! It is not because drivers of small cars are bad drivers! We will come back to drivers in a second, but if it isn’t the drivers that make semi truck accidents, then what is it?
It is the vehicles themselves actually that cause semi truck accidents!
A semi truck with a trailer can weigh 80,000 or more pounds! While an average car or small ¾ ton truck will only weigh about 4,000 pounds. So, anyone who has ever thrown a water balloon at a friend, knows the balloon doesn’t stand a chance, and neither does the small car when it hits a commercial truck!
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), Semi truck accidents account for approximately 415,000 crashes (those that were actually reported) in 2015.
This report is the Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts (LTBCF) and is compiled annually. It contains in-depth information about injuries, fatalities, and property-damage-only semi truck accidents.
The FMCSA gets this information from a variety of source to include:
- The Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA’s) Highway Statistics;
- NHTSA’s General Estimates System (GES);
- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA’s);
- Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS);
- FMCSA’s Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS).
You can check out those sources yourself or visit your state’s individual Department of Transportation (DOT), or equivalent agencies to learn more.
An interesting fact to know is that over 72% of the semi truck accidents are the fault of the other vehicle!
Semi truck accidents are a serious issue but can be prevented if other drivers would only learn how to share the road with truck drivers!
How Past Semi Truck Accidents Have Impacted Today’s Industry
There isn’t room enough to cover everything here. But a cliffs notes look at how semi truck accidents of the past have impacted the industry of today can reveal a lot.
There was a time not too long ago when people just traveled from point to point. As paths were worn into the soil they became trails then roads and eventually the superhighways of today.
With that evolution comes the need for traffic enforcement. No one really appreciates the speed limits signs, the dangerous curve warnings, or any of the dozen other restrictions.
But they are there for a purpose. Some might argue, there are too many, while others might say not enough.
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But they are there and the regulations started for a good reason.
Between the 1890’s and about 1910 many things began to change, in regards to roads and the types of vehicles. Around 1912 we were introduced to the tractor trailer. And thus the semi truck accidents were soon to follow.
This stems from inferior materials, lack of safety precautions, poor driving skills, and inadequate communications. It was World War 1 that proved just how valuable the semi truck would become to the world.
Not just for the military but for us all. In the 1920’s innovations like the diesel engine came into being.
But it was the 1930’s that saw the trend of regulation. Some were for the sake of commerce. Some might argue it was created by the railroad. Still, others would say a new revenue outlet for the government to raise much-needed capital.
However, out of this came many of the safety regulations that we still observe today. Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1944 and the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956 were two major milestones in the construction of highways.
There was also the need to ensure the motorist safety. This spawned the DOT and the NHTSA.
It was in the name of public safety that they started regulated driving hours, to reduced fatigued drivers and cause of semi truck accidents.
They enacted laws reducing speed for commercial trucks. And they created the commercial transportation enforcement agencies.
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Tips for Safely Sharing the Road with Truck Drivers
Now, I know that anyone has their own techniques, tricks, and tips for sharing the road with truck drivers, but I know that few more tips cannot harm you. So, here, in addition, I will present you 10 of mine tips that I hope you find useful!
1. Stay Out of the Blind Spots
You might not think about it, but one of the causes of semi truck accidents is the fact that the truck driver can’t see the other cars.
Actually, this is a major issue. Drivers of smaller cars have a tendency to glide into spots where they are not clearly visible to the truck driver.
When this happens the truck driver isn’t aware you are there. A big truck is not like a small car with lots of windows and mirrors.
Sure, they have truck mirrors but they can only reflect so much, and there are spots that are blind. This means the driver simply can’t see you, so stay out of the blind spots!
2. Don’t Drive Fatigued
Fatigue is one of the main reasons why semi truck accidents happen these days!
You know as well as I do those drivers don’t fall asleep just like that! There is a warning sign first! Signs include blurriness, drowsiness, dizziness, lack of concentration and such. Sleepiness and driving while you feel that way can be a dangerous combination. Fatal!
If you start feeling those signs STOP! Don’t drive fatigued!
Don’t try to fight off fatigue by turning up the radio louder, or by opening a window! It will not work for long!
Instead, stop and prolong the trip for later! Better late than sorry!