6 Mistakes Truck Drivers Make that Can Cause an Accident


Taking a look at a truck is enough to tell how hard to control these vehicles are. The trucks are very heavy, mainly because they were made to carry massive loads. As such, in the event of an emergency or a road obstacle, the driver will have a hard time stopping the vehicle quickly enough.

Sometimes, it’s not only the weight of the truck that leads to disasters. Drivers often spend days or weeks on the road, making it more likely for them to make mistakes when they’re tired or frustrated. Unfortunately, even small mistakes can lead to terrible accidents.

Below you will find a list of the most common mistakes truck drivers make that can cause accidents.

1. Engaging in Distracted Driving

When you have to drive for so many hours, it’s easy to become bored, particularly without any music or a radio station to keep you company. Therefore, as a truck driver, you can fall victim to the temptation to engage in distracted driving.

This means you may check your phone, eat, drink, etc. Even something as simple as changing music devices or radio settings or setting up a GPS device are considered distractions.

When you do any of these things, you are not paying full attention to the road. And if there are obstacles in the way or other vehicles or people that you fail to see, a disaster can happen.

Sometimes, truck drivers even zone out while driving, especially when they’re very bored or tired. Sure, our minds wander unintentionally at all times. Chances are that you’re thinking about what to cook during your free time or you’re trying to calculate how much money you need to spend on bills this month. Zoning out is a form of distracted driving too, and it can lead to terrible consequences.

According to statistics, 3,522 people died in the U.S. due to distracted driving in 2021. So, it’s important to not contribute to these numbers.

2. Speeding


Everybody knows how dangerous speeding can be. Many drivers like to show off in public or they might be in a rush to meet deadlines. For truck drivers, the latter is usually the case.

In order to keep their jobs and make sure their customers are pleased, truck drivers do their best to reach their destinations on time. But they cannot control everything that happens along the way. For instance, they won’t be aware of the heavy traffic or bad weather conditions that will take place in a few days and make them lose more time on their journey.

Truck drivers are also paid by the mile most of the time, so in order to deliver goods on time, they are tempted to speed up. Speeding makes it harder to control such a big vehicle, though, which means that it’s more of a challenge to stop the truck in an emergency, notice all road signs, or see all obstacles or cars. Therefore, the risk of accidents grows significantly.

3. Driving While Drowsy

Too many truck drivers overwork themselves. They have to drive for hours, and sometimes they barely sleep. As such, staying awake becomes a real challenge. Despite feeling drowsy, some drivers remain behind the wheel, aiming to meet the deadline.

According to federal law, truck drivers are only allowed to drive for 11 hours during 14-hour shifts. Therefore, they must rest for 10 hours before getting behind the wheel once again.

Still, sleep issues or a desire to meet a deadline can keep a truck driver from getting the necessary amount of sleep. This means that they will keep driving while exhausted and accidents are more likely to happen in these cases.

4. Rear-Ending


Rear-ending can also lead to a lot of car crashes. Even when there’s a massive queue of cars in front of you and you cannot wait to get past them, you should still not be too close to the vehicle in front of you. Maintaining a safe distance allows both you and the driver in front of you to react if something unexpected happens.

But if you rear-end someone, collisions can easily occur. Many truck drivers do this, and they may drive over a smaller passenger vehicle, destroying it and endangering the people inside.

5. Not Checking or Securing the Load

Trucks carry huge amounts of goods. Most of the time, someone else loads the cargo, so the driver doesn’t have to do anything aside from driving to the required destination. However, some drivers fail to check the load or secure it, in which case the risk of accidents rises to an alarming level.

The loads in the closed trailer can shift, which can unbalance the weight of the whole trailer. So, there’s a rollover risk. Not to mention that if the driver must deal with a serious road hazard or do certain maneuvers all of a sudden, shifting loads can make the process more difficult.

For this reason, all truck drivers should check and secure the load before hitting the road.

6. Using Alcohol and Drugs


Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is forbidden and everyone knows this. However, some truck drivers still risk it. Either as a way to relax after a long day or as a way to deal with their issues, some truck drivers use alcohol or drugs, then get behind the wheel of their massive trucks. Since driving skills and reaction times are greatly affected by this aspect, the driver might cause a collision.

Now, federal regulations ask trucking companies to perform drug and alcohol testing on their drivers before they get hired or before they go on the road.

Final Thoughts

There are various things that can cause truck accidents, such as distracted driving, drug, and alcohol use, drowsy driving, speeding, and many others. Drivers need to avoid such behaviors, so they stay safe and make sure they do not hurt other road participants. However, if you’re ever involved in a truck accident, you can obtain more information from this page on how to hire a truck accident attorney.

Written by Kan Dail