4 Common Trucking Accidents and How to Avoid Them

oversized load, a truck safety issue

The fact that commercial trucks get into accidents out on the highways, back roads, and other roadways across the United States is no surprise. The actual numbers, however, may shock you.

In 2013 alone, there were 3,900 fatal crashes involving commercial trucks, 73,000 crashes with injuries but no fatalities, and 265,000 accidents that involved only property damage, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. These accidents could have occurred for any number of reasons, but let’s look at 4 of the most common accidents and how to avoid them.

Equipment Failure

Pick a problem, any problem: defective tires, no reverse-detection warning device, brakes that fail, lights that don’t work, trailers not hitched properly. Any of these reasons (and many others) can cause an accident but more importantly they are preventable.

The fix: Always complete pre-trip inspection checklists. Have a preventative maintenance system in place to keep vehicles in good repair. Repair problems as they occur instead of waiting too long.

Improper Loading

There are a few ways a truck might not be properly loaded. The load may not be secured properly or the weight of the load may not be distributed evenly, causing a potential tip over. Another common securement failure is not using a tarp when it’s necessary. If you are hauling a material prone to fly away such as scrap metal or sand, it’s highly important to properly tarp your load.

The fix: Never head out until you’re sure that your load is properly secured and distributed properly over the axles.

Driver Error

The vast majority of accidents are due to driver error caused by inattention, distractions, or driver fatigue. Don’t let your drivers or any other motorists become statistics.

The fix: Educate and train your drivers to minimize distractions. Make sure your drivers use an Electronic Logging Device to track their Hours of Service (HOS) so they know when it’s time to stop. This will help avoid fatigue and reduce your number of HOS violations.

Weather Conditions

Rain, snow, and sleet can make roads unsafe for all drivers, but especially truck drivers. When traffic gets backed up or stops suddenly, it can be very difficult for a truck to come to a safe stop on bad roads.

The fix: Watch local weather conditions. Drivers will need to adjust their speed and may need to adjust their routes if local roads get really bad.

It’s impossible to eliminate the possibility of ever having an accident, but with the right tools and extra care and attention, many accidents can be avoided. Don’t let your drivers become a statistic out on the road. Help them stay safe by providing the tools that allow them to keep their truck in good working condition and let them know when it’s time to stop driving for the day.

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