California is a very large state and one of the more densely populated as well. It makes sense that commercial trucks are very active there. Some truckers go from California out into the rest of the country with their cargo, while others stay in the state, driving up and down the coast.
If you’re in a car, and you collide with one of these massive rigs, it makes sense that you would get the worst end of it. These trucks are so much bigger and heavier than your vehicle probably is, and you’ll be lucky to walk away with minor injuries.
However, even if you feel like you’re a very safe driver and you always obey the speed limit, some trucker behaviors can cause a wreck, even if you do all you can to avoid one. We’ll talk about some of these behaviors right now, and we’ll discuss what truckers can do to stay away from them.
The first thing to comprehend is that large truck accidents in California happen more often than you might realize. There is an entity called the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, or NHTSA. They report that in a recent year, 386 large truck fatal accidents happened in California.
In that same year, the report states that 408 total fatalities occurred, and also 56 trucker fatalities. When you look at those numbers, though, you should notice that the non-truckers who died in those wrecks comprise a higher number than trucker injuries.
This firmly establishes that smaller vehicles which commercial trucks hit usually suffer more casualties than the truckers themselves. The commercial truckers have that massive structure around them, protecting them. Someone driving a car is not so lucky.
Speed can play a part in these wrecks. Commercial truckers need to adhere to strict timetables as they try to drop off their loads. If you have a trucker running late, they might try to speed to make up that time.
The simple fact is that truckers need to choose not to speed, even if they risk being late. As a trucker, you need to realize that when you speed in a vehicle that size, you make the road a dangerous place for any driver who is sharing it with you.
Impaired truck drivers are also a problem. When you hear the term “impaired,” you might think of alcohol, and with good reason. A drunk trucker can cause a wreck and countless lives in some situations.
An impaired truck driver might also indulge in illegal drug use, though. There are many different drug varieties, and a trucker on any one of them might cause a wreck far easier than a sober individual would.
What’s especially problematic, though, is that you sometimes have commercial truck drivers who are not doing illegal drugs, but they’re using doctor-prescribed legal ones. The issue is that some prescription drugs can make a truck driver dizzy or drowsy.
As a trucker, you need to avoid using illegal drugs before you drive, but you also have to watch out for certain prescription ones. If you start a new doctor-prescribed drug regimen, see what impact that drug has on you before you opt to get behind the wheel of a multiple-ton vehicle.
Fatigue can cause a commercial truck accident as well. If truckers push themselves further than they should go without sleeping, they can nod off at the wheel. The next thing they know, they might have run a few cars off the road.
There are always stipulations and laws about how long a trucker can drive before they need to take a break and get some crucial rest. There are also rules regarding how much a driver can drive within a designated period, such as a set amount within 24 hours.
Drivers need to stick to those rules. Also, truck driver employers must remind them to do so. Responsibility applies to both drivers and employers, who together must make sure fatigue does not turn deadly on America’s roadways.
Distracted driving can be lethal when someone driving the family sedan does it, but you can imagine the chaos when a commercial truck driver tries to check a smartphone text message. There are plenty of other things that might distract a truck driver, such as an enticing billboard or a child gesturing to them from a passing car.
Truck drivers need to watch the road ahead of them at all times. It’s easy to become a complacent driver if you’ve done it for many years, but a momentary distraction can kill or injure someone.
Truck drivers should remind themselves to let nothing distract them every time they fire up their rig and get out on the highway. That means turning off their phones for the entire time they’re driving.
Drowsy driving is like fatigue but more egregious. A drowsy truck driver might reach the point where they will pass out behind the wheel entirely, taking what the medical profession calls an involuntary micro nap. They will fall asleep for a second or two before snapping back to consciousness.
Someone who has driven many more miles than they should in too short of a time runs the risk of causing a wreck. Truckers pushing themselves past their physical and mental limits can cause disasters like multiple-car pile-ups.
The answer is to restrict the number of hours a trucker can put in during a designated period, but it also helps to drink caffeinated beverages like coffee or soda. If a driver needs a little pickup, and they’re not able to pull over and sleep right then, caffeine can be the answer, at least temporarily.
Now that you know some possible truck driver dangers, you should understand the behavior you want to see from a responsible trucker who might pull up alongside you on the highway. If you’ve been involved in a truck accident, hire an experienced truck accident attorney to get the compensation you deserve. You can’t control what that trucker does, though, so it’s up to them to adhere to all rules and traffic laws.
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