Anytime a truck gets involved in a vehicle accident, the crash often becomes far more severe. This is because trucks are much larger than normal passenger vehicles, with a higher profile and much more weight. As a result, truck accidents typically involve much more damage and far more serious personal injuries than accidents that only involve passenger vehicles.
Because of the high risk of severe accidents, truck drivers should be some of the safest drivers on the road. While many are, taking seriously their responsibility to other drivers to keep them safe on the highways of the District of Columbia, others use unsafe truck driving practices when they are behind the wheel. In fact, because truckers and trucking companies are primarily concerned with getting cargo from one place to another, it comes as no surprise that truck drivers should decide to drive unsafely as soon as it becomes important to make up time or rush to their destinations. Unfortunately, if the unsafe driving practices that they use ends up causing an accident, it is the other people involved who are most likely to get hurt – according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, when a passenger vehicle gets involved in a fatal two-vehicle collision with a large truck, the fatality happened in the passenger vehicle 97% of the time.
The Problem of Unsafe Truck Driving Practices
Trucking is a for-profit business, with much of that business relying on how quickly trucking companies can get materials and other cargo from one place to another. However, that interest often goes at odds with the safety of other drivers on the highway. When trucking companies pressure their drivers to cut corners on the road and put others at risk, it can cause a serious truck accident.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), a significant portion of the truck accidents that were caused by the truck driver involved unsafe truck driving practices that are meant to save time at the expense of safety. In the FMCSA's study, nearly 55% of the large trucks that were involved in an injury-producing accident during the study's timeframe had contributed to the crash. Of that 55 %, a variety of unsafe driving practices dominated how truckers caused the accident: Nearly a third of them had veered out of their lane and into another, while more than a quarter was driving out of control, often because of excess speed. Finally, one in ten truckers contributed to their crash by going through an intersection improperly or unsafely.
Unsafe Truck Driving Can Hurt You
Unfortunately, whenever a truck driver decides to prioritize how quickly they deliver their cargo over how safely they get it there, you can be the one who suffers if you are in the wrong place at the wrong time. Knowing what some of the most common types of unsafe truck driving practices are, though, can help.
When you are driving on the roads of Washington, D.C., it might seem like everyone is speeding. However, going over the speed limit is something entirely different when a trucker is the one doing it. That is because trucks have a much longer stopping distance, even when they are not carrying any cargo, at all. When truckers have a bed or trailer full of cargo, though, the truck's stopping distance increases dramatically. Speeding not only increases this stopping distance, even more, it also makes it more difficult for a truck driver to notice a dangerous situation and react appropriately to it.
When a trucker speeds, it can endanger you if you are in front of it because the truck might be going too fast to come to a complete stop before colliding with the back of your car. These types of collisions are serious, and with the added weight and high profile of a tractor-trailer or other large truck, they can also be fatal.
Failing to Check Blind Spots on a Truck
One of the consequences of the larger size of trucks is that they have more and larger blind spots. Whenever a trucker needs to turn or change lanes, he or she is supposed to check those blind spots through whatever means are necessary in order to ensure there is no one there. However, when a trucker is more concerned with how fast they go than with how safely they are driving, they often skip this step. If you are in an adjacent lane or are lingering in a truck's blind spot and they fail to check it before making a road maneuver, you can be involved in a serious truck accident.
Distracted Truck Driving
Distracted driving is a serious problem in the U.S. and the District of Columbia, and truck drivers are not immune. In fact, because truck drivers are professional drivers and are behind the wheel for most of the day, they can be even more susceptible to distractions because of the monotony of the roads. Unfortunately, when truckers are distracted, they pay less attention to their surroundings and to other people on the road, which can cause a serious truck accident.
Washington, D.C. Truck Accident Attorneys at Gilman & Bedigian
Avoiding a truck accident is one of the most important things a driver in Washington, D.C. can do. However, when truckers are driving unsafely, that can be incredibly difficult – even if you are abiding by all of the rules of the road and taking every precaution possible, the poor driving of a truck driver can still put you in harm's way.
If this should ever happen to you or to someone you know and you get hurt as a result, you need to have legal representation. Hiring the personal injury attorneys at the law office of Gilman & Bedigian can be the best way to ensure you get the compensation you need after such an accident. Reach out to us by contacting us online or by calling us at (800) 529-6162 for a free consultation.