Skip to Main Content
Contact US

CALL US TODAY!

(713) 804-8149

Let’s talk about something that affects all of us who share the highways and byways: truck accidents. We’ve all seen them cruising down the road, but do you know what often leads to those unfortunate truck crashes?

Buckle up as we explore 8 common causes of truck accidents in the USA.

1.     Common causes of truck accidents: Driver fatigue

Driver fatigue significantly elevates the likelihood of truck accidents due to its adverse effects on a driver’s mental and physical capabilities.

Fatigue undermines different facets of a driver’s performance, diminishing their capacity to swiftly and effectively respond to unforeseen circumstances on the road hence leading to the need for truck accident lawyers in most cases. Here’s how driver fatigue is likely to cause truck accidents.

Decreased alertness and attention: Fatigue can lead to a decreased state of alertness and attention. A fatigued driver may struggle to stay focused on the road, signs, and other vehicles, increasing the likelihood of missing important cues or hazards.

Slower reaction times: Fatigue can slow down a driver’s reaction times. In emergencies, a fatigued driver might take longer to apply the brakes or make evasive maneuvers, making it difficult to avoid collisions.

Impaired decision-making: Fatigue can impair a driver’s ability to make sound decisions. A fatigued driver may struggle to assess the severity of a situation and make the right choices, potentially leading to incorrect judgments.

Reduced vigilance: A fatigued driver may experience reduced vigilance, which means they might not notice changes in traffic conditions or the behavior of other drivers. This can result in a failure to anticipate and respond to potential dangers, hence the need for truck accident lawyers to address the legal implications that may arise later.

Micro sleeps: Extreme fatigue can lead to micro sleeps, brief episodes where a person falls asleep for a few seconds without realizing it. During a micro sleep, a driver is essentially unconscious, which can be extremely dangerous and ultimately lead to serious injuries.

2.     Distracted driving

Distracted driving is one of the most common causes of truck accidents in USA because it diverts a driver’s attention away from the task of driving, impairing their ability to safely operate a vehicle. There are three main types of distractions that can lead to accidents: visual, manual, and cognitive. Here’s how distracted driving can cause road accidents:

Visual distractions: These distractions divert a driver’s visual attention away from the road. When a driver’s eyes are off the road, they may not notice changes in traffic conditions, obstacles, or signals. Common visual distractions include:

Texting and phone use: Looking at a text message, email, or social media while driving takes a driver’s eyes off the road, increasing the risk of collisions.

Adjusting in-car systems: Changing radio stations, adjusting the GPS, or interacting with infotainment systems can cause a driver to look away from the road.

Checking mirrors or personal grooming: Taking one’s eyes off the road to check mirrors, fix hair, or apply makeup can lead to accidents.

3.     Speeding

Most crashes involving large trucks are caused by excessive speed. When trucks, particularly sizable commercial vehicles, surpass speed limits or navigate at velocities unsuited to prevailing road conditions, a range of perilous scenarios can emerge:

Reduced reaction time: Higher speeds reduce a driver’s reaction time, making it more difficult for them to respond to sudden changes in traffic, obstacles, or the behavior of other drivers.

Increased stopping distance: Trucks require a longer distance to come to a complete stop when they are traveling at higher speeds. If a truck is speeding, it may not be able to stop in time to avoid a collision.

Loss of control: Speeding increases the risk of losing control of the vehicle, especially around curves, in adverse weather conditions, or on slippery roads.

Rollovers: The risk of rollovers is heightened when trucks take curves or corners at excessive speed according to statistics. Trucks have a higher center of gravity, making them more susceptible to tipping over.

4.     Improper loading

Have you ever come across a truck with an imbalanced load or items jutting out hazardously? This is a recipe for potential disaster. When a truck’s load isn’t appropriately distributed, it can become unstable and challenging to manage.

Improper loading of trucks is a substantial contributor to road accidents. When cargo isn’t adequately secured, distributed, or loaded within a truck, it introduces numerous safety risks that can culminate in accidents, injuries, and property damage. If you want to avoid the need for truck accident lawyers, ensure that your truck is properly loaded.

5.     Common causes of truck accidents: Poor maintenance

Inadequate maintenance of trucks can markedly enhance the probability of road accidents, as it heightens the likelihood of unforeseen malfunctions. When maintenance is neglected or performed inadequately, several dangerous situations can arise, warranting the expertise of truck accident lawyers to navigate the legal complexities that may follow.

When maintenance is neglected or performed inadequately, several dangerous situations can arise:

Brake failures: Inadequate maintenance of braking systems can lead to brake failures. Trucks require longer distances to stop due to their weight, so malfunctioning brakes can result in rear-end collisions or inability to stop in time.

Tire blowouts: Poorly maintained tires are prone to blowouts. A tire blowout can lead to loss of control and is one of the common causes of truck accidents.

Steering issues: Malfunctioning steering systems can make it difficult for the driver to control the truck, leading to swerving, lane departure, or collisions.

6.     Unfavorable weather conditions

Unfavorable weather conditions can greatly contribute to road accidents by creating hazardous driving conditions. Here are some ways in which unfavorable weather conditions can lead to accidents.

Rain and wet roads

Rain reduces tire traction, making roads slippery and increasing the risk of skidding and hydroplaning. Reduced visibility due to heavy rain can also lead to accidents, especially when drivers can’t see other vehicles, road signs, or hazards clearly.

Snow and ice

Snow and ice reduce traction significantly, making it difficult for trucks to stop, turn, or accelerate. Icy roads can lead to sliding and loss of control, contributing to accidents, especially on bridges and overpasses that freeze more quickly.

Fog

Fog reduces visibility to a dangerous extent, making it difficult to see other vehicles, road markings, and obstacles in advance. It can lead to sudden and unexpected encounters with vehicles, causing rear-end collisions.

Wind

Strong winds can make it challenging to control trucks, especially high-profile vehicles such as trailers and buses. Windy conditions can cause trucks to sway or even overturn, leading to accidents.

7.     Inexperienced driving

Operating a large truck isn’t a simple task. It demands specialized expertise and training. Novice truck drivers could encounter difficulties in managing the vehicle effectively, particularly in confined spaces or challenging scenarios.

Inexperienced driving plays a considerable role in causing road accidents. Young or new drivers might not possess the essential skills, understanding, and discernment required to navigate intricate traffic scenarios securely.

Such drivers have a higher likelihood of committing errors and making suboptimal choices that can culminate in accidents. In fact, most common truck accident injuries are caused by inexperienced drivers.

Limited situational awareness: Novice drivers might encounter difficulties in fully evaluating their surroundings and predicting potential dangers, rendering them more susceptible to collisions with other vehicles, pedestrians, or obstacles.

Suboptimal decision-making: Less experienced drivers may not consistently arrive at the most prudent choices during critical moments, such as merging onto highways, overtaking, or responding to unexpected occurrences.

Overconfidence in skills: Certain inexperienced drivers could overestimate their driving prowess, leading them to undertake risks they aren’t adequately equipped for, such as driving at high speeds or in challenging weather conditions.

Underestimation of hazards: Inexperienced drivers might not accurately gauge the risks presented by specific road conditions, like rain, snow, or icy surfaces, resulting in potential loss of vehicle control and accidents.

Difficulty managing stress: Confronted with intricate traffic scenarios, aggressive motorists, or unforeseen situations, novice drivers might experience stress that hampers their capacity to make sound decisions and maintain control.

8.     Tailgating and aggressive driving

We’ve all been there – someone tailgating us and pushing us to go faster. When it’s a truck doing the tailgating, the stakes are even higher. Tailgating reduces reaction time and increases the risk of rear-end collisions and is one of the common causes of truck accidents.

Such behavior contributes to a higher risk of accidents, increases stress levels for all road users, and creates a hostile driving environment. Here’s how tailgating and aggressive driving affect roads, emphasizing the need to consult with knowledgeable truck accident lawyers to understand the potential legal ramifications of such actions.

Increased accident risk: Tailgating, which involves following another vehicle too closely, reduces the reaction time available for both the tailgater and the driver in front. This increases the risk of rear-end collisions, especially in situations where the leading driver needs to brake suddenly.

Rear-end collisions: Tailgating is a leading cause of rear-end collisions. When the driver ahead suddenly brakes, the tailgater may not have enough time to stop in time, resulting in a collision.

Conclusion

Truck accidents have far-reaching consequences, impacting the safety of truck drivers, other motorists, and pedestrians alike. By acknowledging and addressing these common causes of truck accidents, you can take steps toward safer roads.

About the Author

Avatar

Husain Law Firm

Nomaan K. Husain is the founder of Husain Law + Associates — Houston Accident & Injury Lawyers, P.C., a Houston-based law firm specializing in Litigation, Immigration, and Aviation. He is Board Certified in Civil Trial Law and Personal Injury Trial Law, with law licenses in Texas, New York, and other jurisdictions. Mr. Husain serves in key community roles, including as Commissioner on President Biden's White House Commission on Fellowships and Chairman of Houston's Asian American Pacific Islander Advisory Board. He's been recognized with several awards, such as the Global Leader Award from the Houston World Affairs Council.

Read More