We often hear of safe driving measures to practice when sharing the road with a large truck, such as avoiding their blind spots and keeping ample distance behind them. But we also need to pay attention to some lesser-known yet equally worrying risks that lead to truck wrecks. Here are three truck accident factors you may find surprising.
Undiagnosed Medical Issues
Did you know that about 86 percent of truck drivers are obese or overweight? This is according to a study by The Journal of the American Dietetic Association. Obesity among truck drivers may be the result of their long hours on the road, which leave little room for exercise and healthy meals. But more disconcerting is the fact that obesity often comes with underlying health issues that affect how truck drivers operate their vehicles.
Sleep apnea is an example. This medical issue causes a person to temporarily stop breathing while asleep. Because of that, a person with sleep apnea may be fatigued, sluggish, and less able to concentrate during the day. Worse, they could fall asleep while at the wheel.
Other medical conditions that are dangerous to truck drivers include heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Truck drivers can be more prone to these because of their lifestyle, and the outcome would be catastrophic if these conditions led to a heart attack or a stroke while driving.
Driving a tractor-trailer, an 18-wheeler, or a tanker is far more complex than driving a regular car. Because these vehicles are huge and heavy, they require specific driving skills like turning, navigating slopes, and braking. This is why large-truck drivers need to undergo training and pass several qualifications before they can operate these vehicles.
Sadly, so many truck drivers today are undertrained and unqualified for the job. In fact, many commercial trucking companies do not have protocols in place to effectively prohibit unqualified drivers from getting behind the wheel. A report from CNBC even reveals that some carriers evade federal safety requirements just by changing their corporate names.
As a result, unqualified or inexperienced truck drivers are often found to be a factor in truck crashes.
Besides the factors stated above, truck drivers are not always to blame in accidents. In some cases, truck wrecks are a result of mechanical problems with the truck itself.
A very common example is faulty brakes. Trucks have a more complex braking system than cars, and any deficiency in the braking equipment may cause the system to fail. Other mechanical problems that lead to truck accidents include unsafe tires, unsecure cargo space, and outdated safety technology.
Trucking companies are required to pass safety inspections to ensure that their vehicles are road-worthy. Still, many unsafe trucks slip through these inspections, posing great risks to motorists.
It is unfortunate for car drivers to know that no matter how much caution they practice on the road, there is still a chance that negligent practices in the trucking industry can cause devastating accidents. If something like this has happened to you or your loved one, do not hesitate to contact an attorney to fight for your rights.