When you see a big truck barreling down on you from behind in your rearview mirror or glance over at one in the next lane on the interstate, you will likely feel nervous about the proximity of such a big and heavy vehicle. Your brain instantly identifies commercial trucks as a possible source of personal risk and draws your attention to them in traffic.
Although the professionals tasked with driving big rigs have more training and must adhere to stricter driving regulations than the average driver, the crashes that they do cause are often catastrophic. The people in the smaller vehicle end up severely hurt or may even die, while the bigger vehicle shows few signs of damage, let alone injury to its driver.
Drivers who learn about the most common causes of commercial trucking collisions could reduce their personal risk of getting into such a crash.
How truckers cause commercial crashes
In slightly more than half of the collisions that occur involving commercial trucks, the bigger vehicle is to blame for the wreck. The majority of those situations are the result of something the driver did or did not do, although sometimes road conditions or vehicle maintenance are to blame.
Making the wrong choice, like traveling at too high of a speed, getting distracted or being medically unable to perform job responsibilities are the top three causes reported when commercial truckers are to blame for these wrecks.
How you might contribute to a commercial collision
You cannot force a commercial driver to pay attention to the road or prevent them from suffering a heart attack on the job. However, you can make better choices about what you do with the wheel when you are close to a commercial vehicle.
Avoiding the blind spots to the sides of commercial trucks and behind them is a good rule to follow. You also want to ensure you leave adequate space between your rear bumper and a commercial truck if you merge into their lane of traffic or turn in front of them. They take longer to stop, so leaving twice the distance that you usually would is a smart decision.
Adjusting your driving habits can minimize your chance of getting into a collision with a commercial truck.