Common Causes of Truck Accidents

Portner & Shure Law Firm Serving Maryland, Virginia & Washington D.C.

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As set forth here in the website, the most common causes of truck accidents are driver fatigue, driver substance abuse, poor truck maintenance, inadequate training and tight delivery schedules. However, as indicated below, the size and weight of the large truck in itself is often a cause of many truck accidents.

Why Truck Accidents Are So Devastating

Inadequate stopping distance is often found to be a cause of serious truck accidents in Maryland and Virginia. On a highway a car traveling 55 mph can come to a stop within approximately 265 feet. However, at the same speed it will take a large truck 313 feet to stop.

Serious car and truck accidents could be avoided if more car drivers kept their vehicles a safe distance behind or in front of a tractor-trailer. In the event you need to stop suddenly, you want the truck behind you to have sufficient stopping space so a rear-end collision is averted.

Keeping a Safe Distance

Other situations in Maryland and Virginia where truck accidents can be avoided involve the quick changing of lanes. Here your stopping distance is also an issue. Often this scenario arises when an automobile passes a truck and then quickly cuts back into the trucks lane without leaving sufficient distance between the truck and the car. Often these unexpected moves force the truck driver to slam on his brakes and endanger everyone nearby.

Minding the Blind Spot

Serious truck accidents also occur due to truck "blind spots." Blind spots are spaces that cannot be seen in the trucks rear or side view mirrors. The blind spots around the left rear, right front, and the back of the trailer are large. When a car moves into a truck's blind spot the truck driver cannot see that car. Hence, if the truck driver pulls to the right, or to the left, a collision will occur.

Blind spot truck collisions can be avoided by car drivers choosing to cease driving alongside tractor-trailers for any length of time. In other words, car drivers should pass the truck, or immediately drop back behind the truck to a point where the truck driver can easily see the car in his side view mirror.

Other Safety Issues

Broken down cars on Maryland and Virginia highways are often a source of serious truck and car collisions. Trucks cannot come to an immediately halt. Hence, many fatal collisions occur when a tractor-trailer fails to timely recognize that the vehicle ahead is at a dead stop.

These fatal injuries can be avoided if the driver and passengers of the broken down vehicle exit the car, activate the hazard lights and get as far off the highway as possible. Next, call the police and alert them of the road hazard.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the most frequent causes of tractor-trailer accidents occur when:

  • The truck driver moves outside his lane of travel into another lane or travels off the road altogether.
  • The truck driver loses control of his vehicle because his cargo shifts; he is traveling at a speed faster than conditions allow; he has a vehicle system failure; or the road conditions are poor.
  • The truck driver collides with the rear end of the vehicle directly in front of him because he is following too closely.

If you or a loved one suffered serious injury in a crash with an 18-wheeler, please call (410) 995-1515 or (301) 854-9000 in Maryland, (703) 734-8790 in Virginia or (202) 554-1449 in Washington, D.C. or complete the form on our website to schedule a free consultation with Portner & Shure today.