As a transportation professional logging thousands of miles a week, you are always on the lookout for ways to stay safe on the road. What can you do to prevent accidents? You can start by looking at what the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) discovered during their comprehensive 2001-03 truck safety research project, which revealed the top 5 causes of large truck crashes in the United States. Although the total figures have changed, a 2015 study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) showed that the causes have not.
Brake failure remains the top cause of fatal large truck accidents. Regular maintenance and replacement of brakes is essential, particularly with trucks weighing over 10,000 pounds as they take much longer to stop.
High speed in bad weather conditions
Since heavy vehicles cannot stop as quickly as cars, drivers have to take poor weather conditions into account in setting their speeds during rain, wind, and snow.
Unfamiliarity with the road
Over 30,000 drivers have died or been injured simply through being unfamiliar with the road they are taking. When motor carriers are following new routes, their arrival times must be extended to give the driver time to slow down and get familiar with the road’s unique features.
Environmental roadway problems
Truckers need to be aware of and make allowances for poor road conditions and inadequate surveillance due to poor or even non-existent signage.
Side effects from medicines
Flu, allergies, coughs, and pain are all reasons that drivers may need to take over-the-counter and prescription drugs. They need to be aware of the side effects of all their medicines and completely avoid those that cause drowsiness. This has been another major cause of fatal accidents.
Prepare to be safe – and plan to stay loaded
Awareness always plays a large part of accident prevention. Remember these top 5 causes of large truck crashes as you prepare for each drive and thoughout your trips. Another important part of preparing for your trip: planning ahead to be loaded all along your route. With an online free freight search, you can pick up good-paying loads from free load boards. So drive safely – and arrive alive and fully loaded!