Trucking accidents are more severe than those involving passenger vehicles only. This is due to the large size and weight of tractor-trailers. As a semi-truck driver, you play a key role in keeping roads safe. Being aware of the most common causes of truck accidents and how to prevent them can help you be a safer driver.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), driver fatigue was a factor in 13% of commercial vehicle accidents. Driving while you are too tired can result in a loss of focus, increasing the risk of a crash.
Tip – Get Enough Rest
During your required breaks, make sure you are getting enough rest. Sleeping in a semi-truck can take some getting used to, but over time you will find what works best for you.
If you are too tired to drive safely, stop and take a short nap. Safety is essential and if you know you are too exhausted to be able to focus on the road, you should communicate this with your dispatcher.
2. Distracted Driving
When you are driving, you should be giving your full attention to what is going on around you. Anything that distracts you from that increases your risk of getting in an accident. It takes time to react to changes in road conditions, and distracted driving can cause you to not notice a hazard until it is too late to avoid it.
Tip – Don’t Drive Distracted
Never text while you are behind the wheel. This is dangerous for passenger vehicles as well but is even more of a concern in such a large vehicle.
Phone calls are also a distraction, even if you are using Bluetooth or another hands-free method of talking on the phone. Even though you can keep your eyes on the road, your focus is split and this can increase the risk of an accident.
When you are going too fast, you don’t have as much time to react to hazards. Speeding in a semi-truck can also make it more likely that you will lose control of the vehicle during sharp curves and can damage your tires.
Tip – Slow Down
Keep in mind that the posted speed limit may be too fast in a large tractor-trailer. Always adapt your speed to the road conditions. It’s better to slow down and take a little more time to get to your destination safely rather than driving recklessly.
4. Passenger Vehicle Driver Errors
There’s only so much you can control on the road and sometimes other drivers are not as cautious as they should be. A trucking accident is not always due to an error on the part of the commercial driver. Passenger vehicles can also make mistakes or drive recklessly and cause accidents with semi-trucks.
Tip – Drive Defensively
Unfortunately, you can’t change the way others on the road drive. The best you can do to avoid an accident when possible is to drive defensively. Follow the other tips above, stay aware of your surroundings, and be ready to adapt to changing conditions.
Drive With DSW
If you are interested in working with a trucking company that values your hard work, DSW is currently hiring over-the-road (OTR) and regional drivers.