How To Avoid Collisions While Coast-to-Coast Driving 

Strong Tie Insurance November 12, 2020 Commercial Truck Insurance

Nuclear verdicts are on the rise and with claims that result in a verdict over $10 million, the trucking industry is feeling the impact. In this environment, general liability insurance for truckers becomes more important than ever.

From 2017 to 2018, approximately 112,000 large trucks were involved in injury accidents, while over 4,350 were involved in fatal crashes, this is according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

Coast-to-coast driving involves, on average, 3,000 miles or about one week of long days on seemingly endless roads. While motor vehicle collision happens, there are steps you can take to avoid them. Let’s take a look at the most common types of collisions and the tips to steer clear.

Most Common Motor Vehicle Collision Types

From following too close to driver distraction, it’s easy to see why rear-end collisions account for a large number of vehicle collisions. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), this type of accident accounts for 29% of all traffic accidents.

Due to weight and size, long-haul truckers are particularly vulnerable to this type of accident. FMCSA estimates that a fully loaded truck traveling on the highway at 65 mph requires almost 200 yards to stop.

That’s the length of two football fields, and twice as far as required by the average vehicle. Add adverse weather conditions such as snow or ice, and that number increases.

A side impact motor vehicle collision is particularly dangerous because the side frame of a motor vehicle offers little protection. The side impact collision injuries include rib fractures and brain trauma.

Jackknife impact collisions and rollover crashes account for two more common causes of a motor vehicle collision in the US. Rollover accident injuries can result in organ damage and spinal cord injuries.

A head-on collision is particularly terrifying and the number one cause of death. These impact collisions frequently result in wrongful claims of fatalities and are often attributed to distracted drivers on the road.

Pedestrian deaths at traffic signs and intersections are another deadly collision that leads to claims of negligence. Unfortunately, a cab’s design may obstruct the driver’s visibility and is a contributing factor in this type of collision. Cyclists are also at risk to become victims of vehicles crashing.

Common Causes of Motor Vehicle Collisions

The most common cause of truck-related accidents is tire defects. Road gators — those black shreds of tire rubber scattered across highways, are the result of tire blowouts or retreaded tires losing their rubber.

The car tire blowout leads to truck accidents and collisions with cars. Vehicles driving over the gators at high speeds also result in collisions. In this instance, the commercial trucking company is almost always considered at fault.

Another common cause of a vehicle collision is driving too close to the car in front of you. According to FMCSA, The Large Truck Crash Causation Study reported that 5% of truck crashes occurred because the truck driver was following the lead vehicle too closely.

What To Do After Car Accidents

For those that have the unfortunate experience of getting into truck or auto accidents, there are specific steps required by law and for your safety. Taking the appropriate steps can reduce injuries, save lives, and simplify the truck insurance claims process.

Step By Step Guide

  1. Check any injury on site. If you or your passengers are injured, call 911 or ask someone for help and do it for you.
  2. Make sure you and your vehicle are in a safe zone and out of harm’s way. If your vehicle is causing a hazard and it’s drivable, get it safely to the side of the road.
  3. Turn your hazard lights on and, if you have an emergency kit, place flares or orange cones in strategic locations to serve as a stop sign to prevent another accident.
  4. For your own protection, call the police for help, no matter how minor the collision. Many insurance companies will ask to see a police report. If the police do not arrive, be sure to file an accident report.
  5. Exchange information including contact, insurance, driver’s license, make and model of the vehicle as well as the license plate number.
  6. Get documentation and take pictures of the causes using your phone if possible. If there are people who witness the collisions, talk to them, and get their contact information. Write down the time and where the accident occurred.
  7. Notify your insurance company.

Tips for Avoiding Collisions

Of course, the best solution is to avoid collisions altogether. While some accidents are inevitable, there are some steps you can take to minimize the chances and avoid negligence on your part.

  1. Inspect your truck, even if it’s a company vehicle. While it’s tempting to rely on fleet mechanics, some are under deadline-driven pressure and can miss the small details. Make sure your truck or vehicle is road-worthy before heading out across the country. This includes properly inflated tires, brakes in good working condition, and mirrors and lights that are working correctly and adjusted.
  2. Keep focused. While this may be easier said than done, distraction and fatigue are the top contributors to accidents. Avoid distractions by setting your phone to Do Not Disturb, or putting it into driving mode. Plan your route before setting a course in order to avoid looking at maps or messing with navigation. Set your music ahead of time and pull over when eating or drinking.
  3. Stay awake. Fatigue is difficult to avoid and requires mastering the art of long-haul trucking. A few professional tips from Advance Career Institue include keeping the cab cool, singing along to your favorite tunes,  listening to audiobooks, snacking on high-energy foods such as nuts and fruit, and drinking water. Most importantly, pull over to a parking lot and take short naps when you start feeling drowsy.
  4. Maintain your distance while on the road. Numerous fatalities have occurred while victims of injury suffer because a truck driver was following the vehicle in front of them too closely and was unable to stop in time to avoid a collision. It takes a loaded tractor-trailer 196 feet to stop when traveling at 55 mph.
  5. Slow down. Adverse road conditions, as well as animal crossing signs, warrant reduced speed. An estimated one to two million animal collisions with vehicles occur every year in the United States.

Protect Yourself With General Liability Insurance

General liability insurance for truckers protects you against the massive claims that are on the rise. According to CCJ Daily, “Data-rich attorneys armed with CSA scores, truck logs and social media posts are convincing more and more juries to deliver huge verdicts.”

When pedestrians are involved, car crashes lead to serious injuries, or a commercial trucking company is involved in multiple-vehicle crashes, you can be sure a lawyer will attempt to establish negligence.

We have developed a solid reputation as a trusted comprehensive commercial truck insurance plan provider.

To discuss your insurance needs and how you can plan ahead should the unthinkable happen, contact us at Strong Tie Insurance today.