Accidents involving commercial trucks are among the most serious in personal injury law. It is important for people to be aware of how these accidents occur and what steps they can take to protect themselves. While these accidents may be the truck driver’s fault, recognizing the ten most common sources of these collisions can create awareness and increase safety for everyone on the road.
- Driver Distraction
Truckers often haul their loads over long distances for many hundreds of miles at a time. As a result, they look for ways to keep themselves occupied, often at the expense of their attention to the road. The use of CB radios or cell phones is a leading cause of distracted driving and resulting accidents.
- Driver Fatigue
Many truckers’ schedules require them to be on the road for upwards of twelve hours a day. Driving these vehicles is difficult at the best of times, but driving while tired reduces reaction times and the ability to adjust to emergencies.
- Overloaded Trucks
- Improper Lane Changes
Trucks must follow the same rules of the road as everyone else. This includes the proper use of side view mirrors and turn signals prior to changing lanes.
Especially due to their massive size, commercial trucks must take care not to speed. Sadly, the pressures of deadlines can cause many drivers to violate this law and subsequently endanger other drivers.
- Wet Roads
Heavy or snowy roads can jeopardize the ability of all drivers to control their vehicles, and this effect is magnified for commercial trucks. Their added weight makes it more difficult to come to a stop on wet roads in case of an emergency.
- Failing to Follow Traffic Signals
Commercial truck drivers must follow traffic signals just like everyone else. Truckers who ignore stop signs or red lights place other drivers on the road in significant danger. In fact, this is one of the most common sources of truck accidents in Chicago.
- Heavy Winds
Given how much larger commercial trucks are than other vehicles, the side of the truck’s trailer can act like a sail that catches wind, especially during storms. This wind can push the truck into other lanes or even tip it entirely during sharp turns on highways.
- Improperly Secured Cargo
Along with rules that govern how heavy a truck can be, there are also rules that state how that weight should be distributed. If a truck’s trailer is off balance, a sharp turn could cause the entire vehicle to flip. In some cases, a sudden stop with an unbalanced load could cause the truck to jackknife, leaving other drivers with no way to escape involvement in a crash.
- Driving with Faulty Equipment
Every part on a commercial truck plays a vital role in safety. From brakes and suspension to turn signals and headlights, a failure in any one of these systems can cause driver confusion or an inability to properly respond to changing road conditions.
Contact a Chicago Truck Accident Attorney Today
These top ten causes of Chicago truck accidents are only the most visible ways that a truck driver may be liable for an accident. In truth, though, even simple poor driving can lead to a devastating accident.
People injured in these accidents should act swiftly, as 735 Illinois Compiled Statutes 5/13-202 gives people only two years from the date of the accident to file a claim. Contact an attorney to learn more about your legal options.