It’s that time of year again. As the countdown begins for the season of festivity, temperatures drop, stringed lights go up, and–for most holiday shoppers–packages appear on doorsteps and in mailboxes, waiting to be carefully gift wrapped for its recipient. Although it is an exciting time to spread holiday cheer to loved ones, the clatter of gift-giving does come at a cost.
While most of us focus on spending time with family and friends, seldom do we realize the toll it takes on others to deliver our precious gifts with convenience. Unfortunately, as shipping activity skyrockets during the holiday season, so does the risk of trucking accidents as drivers are burdened with fatigue, tight delivery deadlines, and increased road traffic.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Americans are packing up for holiday road trips more than ever before. In fact, more than 102 million Americans traveled for the holidays by car in December of 2018. There are approximately 12.5 million commercial motor vehicles on the road, and 72% of fatalities in large truck crashes are occupants of other vehicles. Should you and your family hit the road this time of year, you should be informed on the risks, their causes, and how to safely share the road.
Why Do Trucking Accidents Spike During the Holidays?
Truck Driver Fatigue. Truck driver fatigue is already a major factor in nearly a third of all trucking accidents, in addition to other factors that push truck drivers beyond their limits demanding delivery schedules, incentives from employers to break hours-of-service (HOS) regulations, etc. are even more pervasive during the holiday season.
Tight Delivery Deadlines. With delivery schedules at their most grueling during the holiday season, many truck drivers feel pressured to speed and take other safety shortcuts in order to stay on time.
Increased Road Traffic. With more big rigs on the road, in addition to an influx of holiday travelers, the risk of an accident significantly increases. The more cars on the road, the more drivers who may make errors or encounter poor weather and road conditions.
Common Causes of Trucking Accidents
Common causes of truck accidents include but are not limited to:
- Driver fatigue
- Reckless driving
- Distracted driving
- Driving while intoxicated
- Improperly loaded cargo
- Defective brakes
- Lack of blind-spot mirrors
- Types of Truck Accidents
A truck accident can occur in a number of ways:
- Jackknife Accidents
- Underride Accidents
- Rollover Accidents
- Rear-End Collisions
- Runaway Trailer Crashes
- Head-on Collisions
- Tire Blowouts
- BlindSpot/ No Zone Accidents
- Wide Turns
- Cargo Accidents
3 Rules to Share the Road Safely
While you might be a safe driver, it’s impossible to control or predict the way others will conduct themselves on the road. It’s important to take additional precautions when sharing the road with truck drivers who are already burdened with fatigue and tight delivery deadlines. To help keep yourself and others safe, here are three simple rules you should follow:
- Slow Down. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, speeding is the most common driver-related factor in fatal crashes that involve large trucks. Driving a little more slowly around large vehicles is a good idea in general, and it becomes even more essential in wet or icy conditions.
- Keep Your Distance. While you can’t always avoid large trucks on the highway or on major roads, no other safety precaution can lower your risk of being injured in a trucking accident as much as giving trucks and other big vehicles as much space as possible. Avoid tailgating or following closely behind large trucks, and in the event that you need to pass one of these vehicles, make sure you do so carefully but decisively (never drive alongside a large truck for longer than you have to). Also, when a truck needs to change lanes or merge into or out of freeway traffic, let them do so freely and give them lots of room.
- Stay in Sight. Unlike a typical passenger vehicle, it’s almost impossible to engineer a large truck so that the driver can see everything around them. All tractor-trailers and similar large trucks have blind spots, especially directly behind, in front of, or next to the doors of the truck.
To learn more about safely sharing the road with large commercial trucks, visit www.ShareTheRoadSafely.gov.
Collisions involving large commercial vehicles can be catastrophic, and it is in your best interest to seek legal representation to receive maximum compensation for your suffering. Our experienced team of trial lawyers will thoroughly investigate your claim and then seek to hold those responsible for your injuries accountable for the damages you’ve suffered as a result of a truck accident. Don’t wait. Contact us today for a free consultation. ?