When you share the road with professional truck drivers, it can be scary. At times, they drive very fast and aggressively. When you see truck accidents on the news, it never looks good. Did you know that according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, tractor trailers only make up three percent of vehicles registered, but nine percent of all fatal accidents can be attributed to tractor trailers? Why is this rate so high? Let’s take a look at reasons why truck accidents happen and how to avoid them.

Prescription, Illicit, and Over-The-Counter Drugs

Drugs are the most prevalent reason for truck accidents according to our truck accident attorneys. Driving while intoxicated is a common problem in many vehicle accidents. When you consider a heavy truck is carrying an oversized load and moving at high speeds, the results can be fatal.

Driver Fatigue

It seems that no matter how many laws and regulations there are, driver fatigue remains a problem. Drivers can get a mixed message from the trucking companies that employ them. On the one hand, they are required to take regular breaks on the road, and to sleep a certain number of hours during the day. It’s human nature to push yourself when there are delivery deadlines and unplanned delays. Many drivers continue to drive when it is unsafe to do so despite safety risks.

Distracted Driving

It happens on the road all the time, and the trucking industry is no different. Long drives can get boring, and truck drivers are masters of multitasking. They are often setting GPS coordinates, using a CB or cell phone to talk or text.  Eating and drinking are commonplace. It all adds up to distracted driving and a dangerous situation on the highway.

Mechanical Breakdowns and Tire Blow Outs

When there is an equipment failure in a tractor trailer, it’s a big deal and leads to unsafe conditions. These situations are usually the fault of the trucking company or the mechanic that is responsible for maintaining the vehicle. A major tire blowout might cause the truck to be unsteady and veer into other vehicles. Sometimes, third parties will be held responsible for faulty maintenance or inferior parts.

Lack of Driver Training

Although you might assume that trucking companies would want all their drivers to be properly trained, that may not be the case. Consider some of the road hazards that truckers face, such as icy roads, prolonged driving at night, driving in unfamiliar territory, and driving in congested areas. When new drivers are not trained effectively to cope with all these situations, accidents are likely to happen.

Road Rage and Aggressive Driving

With the pressure on them to make delivery deadlines on time, truck drivers are subject to a lot of stress while driving. This can, and from time to time, does lead to road rage. The driver will take aggressive action without remembering the weight and force of their vehicle. Big rigs can cause tragic accidents when these circumstances arise.

Stay Safe

Now that our truck accident lawyers have gone over some of the causes of truck accidents, you should be aware of the dangers of sharing the road with big trucks and tractor trailers. Practice defensive driving and don’t make a bad situation worse.

By: Stephen Phillips

Stephen D. Phillips is the managing partner at the Phillips Law Offices in Chicago. He earned his Juris Doctor from Loyola University in 1985 and his B.A. from the University of Iowa in 1981. He is an extensively published writer and sought-after lecturer on legal topics ranging from medical malpractice to tort reform. Mr. Phillips is also the recipient of a number of awards and honors from various legal and community groups.