By Matt Lalande in Trucking Accidents on November 15, 2019
Tractor trailers have 4 blind spots: Right in front of the truck’s cab, extending forward about 20 feet. There is a blind spot just below and behind the driver’s window and the right side of the truck’s cab, extending backward diagonally.
In Canada, trucking accidents account for approximately one out of five motor vehicle accidents on urban and rural roads. A transport truck can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds, which can pose a significant threat and extra precautions must be taken when it comes to sharing the road. While it is imperative for all Canadian drivers to understand the rules of the road, there are some factors that are particularly more common in transport truck accidents than others. The more educated and alert all drivers are, the safer the roads will be.
Here are the top five most common causes of trucking collisions and the reasons they occur.
Every motor vehicle has blind spots that must be taken into consideration, but there are many more blind spots on a commercial truck due to its large size. Truck drivers rely on their side mirrors to check these blind spots as they are incapable of utilizing rear view mirrors due to the size of the trailer.
It is particularly hard for trucks to see directly in front and behind them, as well as the passenger side of the vehicle. No matter how frequently the truck driver checks their surroundings, cars or motorcycles in these blind spots are difficult to see. Additionally, the height of the truck can prevent the driver from seeing any vehicles that are lower in size.
Trucking blind spots are called “no-zones” which are described below:
Front no-zone: The front of the truck has a no-zone blind spot because it is so high up. The front no zon extends about 20 feet in front of the truck. It’s important that you don’t change lanes immediately in front of a truck or cut-off a truck under any circumstances. Remember, if you hit traffic, a truck can take the entire length of a football field to stop. You don’t want to be in front of a truck where the driver cannot see you.
Right side no-zone: Trucks have extremely large blind spots on both sides of the tractor and the front part of the trailer. These blind spots then angle out from the truck. Driving your vehicle in these blind areas can put you into a dangerous situation where you can be sideswiped by a truck that can’t see you. The right side, or passenger side, is one of the biggest blind spots for a trucker. There is an areas on the right where you can get caught out of view between the passenger rear virew mirror and the nose mirror in the truck. The right side no-zone can extend up to 3 lanes.
Left side no-zone – This is a trucker’s smallest blind spot area. A good the rule of thumb is that you should always be able to see the truck driver. If you can’t see him, he can’t see you. To be on the safe side, avoid driving directly beside a truck’s door area if at all possible.
Rear no-zone – Remember trucks don’t have rear view mirrors. Many do not have rear cameras. Because of this, the trucker has almost 200 feet in back of the truck that cannot be seen. never follow a truck too close. They will never be able to see who is in back of them – they cannot see you, and you will not be able to see in front of the truck.
Canada is known for its harsh winters and chilling temperatures from November to February. When ice is on the road it often leads to dangerous conditions. Roads are subjected to buildups of ice and slippery conditions that require extra precautions to be taken by all drivers. These hazardous conditions are known to cause dangerous collisions including multi-vehicle pile ups every winter season on some of Canada’s busiest highways. Transport truck drivers are particularly at risk during hazardous winter road conditions because it takes much more time for these massive vehicles to stop, and the risk of slipping and losing control is significantly greater. In the other seasons, from spring to fall, icy conditions are not a risk but wet roads during heavy rainfall can also pose a threat for drivers, and extra precautions should also be taken.
A study throught the Advancing Transportation Through Innovation reported that driver error in the USA was the predominate factor in trucking crashes. Fatigue contributed to nearly 21% of trucking accidents. Another major issue is distracted driving. In some cases, trucking accidents are caused by an error made by the truck driver. In 2018, the OPP reported that the majority of transport truck accidents that year were caused by the truck driver’s speeding. In over 3,600 investigated collisions involving transport trucks that year, speeding charges were dealt to approximately 1,615 drivers.
Some other common types of truck driver error causing an accident include:
Commercial trucking companies have regulations in place that require drivers to take regular breaks. However, some drivers do not follow these regulations. As a result, they continue to drive while drowsy, posing the risk of falling asleep behind the wheel.
Machine or equipment failure is another common cause of trucking accidents in Canada. The OPP report from 2018 that listed speeding as the number one cause of trucking accidents also listed defective equipment as the second most common cause, with 963 charges given to truck drivers for this issue. A defective equipment issue could occur if the brakes fail, if the vehicle is overweight and not accounted for in size, or if any other parts of the engine are compromised. Sometimes it is possible that the trailer of a truck is not attached properly and could potentially detach from the cab while driving. Transport trucks that undergo equipment failure can cause debris and equipment parts to loosen and scatter on the road, creating hazards that can cause accidents for other vehicles as well.
Defective trucking issues could be thing such as:
Improperly fastened cargo or cargo shift – When trucking cargo is improperly secured to a trailer or property distributed the equipment can malfunction and lead to devastating accidents
Brake failure – Most large trucks are normally equipped with air brake systems that are quite complicated. Most air brake systems need and use an air compressor, air lines, air tank, brake chambers, protection valves and other parts. Airbrakes can become maladjusted and leaks, become worn out, cease working completely or have other issues which can negatively affect their proper function.
Lighting malfunction – Trucks that travel on Ontario roads are mandated by the Ministry of Transportation to follw certain regulations involving the type of lighting, color, location, placement, quantity and types of truck which are required to have certain kinds of lighting. Truck lighting typically includes headlights, turn signals, side markers, tail lamps, stop lights, parking lights and others. If important lights are malfunctioning and have not been check over before departures – serious accident can happen.
Tire problems – truck tires are not like car tires. There are required specifications in Ontario including condition, tread depth, tire pressure and permissible loads. If tires are improperly secured, or if there is insufficient tread depth or the tire are leaking then the truck could experience a lost tire or blowout, which could lead to a major accident. It’s important that truck drivers inspect thier tires on a regular basis to identify issues such as worn or deteriorated tires. Regular inspections to identify worn, deflated, damaged or deteriorated tires.
If you have been injured in a trucking accident, contact our Hamilton personal injury lawyers now to review your case. We would be happy to speak to you and your family at your convenience. Contact us for a free consultation at 905-333-8888 or through our online contact form to go over your options and discuss your case.