Many people get nervous driving around trucks on Illinois roads and highways. Even confident drivers may become anxious when they find themselves nearing a large truck.
This is understandable since in an accident between a car and a truck, the car’s occupants are the ones most likely to sustain serious or deadly injuries, while the truck driver walks away unharmed.
Truck accidents increased from 2020 to 2021
Unfortunately, recent statistics show that truck accidents continue to be a problem. Over half a million large truck accidents occurred in 2021, which was a 26% increase from 2020.
Data also revealed that semi-trailer trucks are the most likely to be involved in an accident and fatal truck accidents are more likely to happen in rural areas.
Some suggested reasons for this include the fact that rural areas are often darker, which can lead to truck driver fatigue. Additionally, truck drivers could be more likely to speed in rural areas because they have less traffic.
There are many common causes of truck accidents that you should know about. Being aware of these causes can help you stay safe when you drive around trucks on the road.
Distracted and drowsy driving
Distracted driving is one major cause of truck accidents. Just like other drivers, truckers are susceptible to distractions, which come in many different forms.
Using a phone, adjusting a navigation system, eating, drinking or personal grooming are all forms of distracted driving. Since they spend more hours on the road than the average driver, it can be much more difficult for truck drivers to not engage in distracted driving.
Know the signs of a distracted truck driver. Driving at varying speeds or veering into another lane or off to the side of the road are signs that a truck driver might be distracted.
These are also signs of drowsy driving, which is another common cause of truck accidents. Driving for many hours at a time causes most people to become sleepy.
Although truck drivers are required to take regular meal and rest breaks, they are also subject to strict deadlines, which could lead to skipping these breaks to stay on schedule. The result is a drowsy truck driver behind the wheel, which puts all other drivers on the road in danger.
Poor weather, especially in the winter, makes it tough for truck drivers to control their vehicles and see the road around them.
Truck drivers should be driving slower than other vehicles in any weather, but this is particularly important in bad weather. Speeding is commonly reported as a factor in truck accidents.
The best way to avoid a truck accident is to stay away from trucks. Do not tailgate them or drive side by side with them. Give them plenty of room when you are passing them. When they pass you, slow down and let them go by.
Rarely do people walk away from a truck accident with minor injuries. The injuries are usually major, resulting in costly medical treatment and time off from work.
Truck drivers and trucking companies should be held responsible for their behavior when it causes an accident. You have legal options when it comes to holding them accountable.