Accidents involving large trucks typically result in major property damage, serious injuries and even death. Occupants of passenger vehicles generally receive more serious injuries because of the size and weight of the trucks.
There are different factors involved with these types of crashes. Some are due to truck driver errors, while others are due to drivers of passenger vehicles.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, even though there are regulations regarding the number of hours truck operators can drive, many accidents occur because of hours-of-service violations and driver fatigue. Poorly maintained brakes are another factor in accidents, as is defective equipment. Some crash prevention strategies include crash avoidance technologies and guards for underride protection.
Passenger vehicle factors
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, passenger vehicle drivers also play a role in some of the accidents involving trucks. This is often because many drivers do not know how to drive safely around large trucks and buses. Trucks have long stopping distances, big blind spots and wide turns. To prevent many accidents, drivers can improve their driving when in the vicinity of trucks. Some tips include:
- Leaving extra space in front of trucks to allow for stopping
- Staying out of blind spots, which are on both sides, in back and in front
- Staying further back when behind a truck to prevent sliding underneath
- Allowing for wide turns by leaving extra space
- Passing and merging safely
- Allowing trucks more time to accelerate
As with driving around any vehicle, passenger vehicle drivers should drive defensively, avoid driving under the influence, wear seat belts and avoid distractions.