Motor vehicle collisions can lead to serious injuries to drivers, passengers and pedestrians alike. When one of the vehicles involved is a truck, however, it can lead to catastrophic injuries and devastating property damage. Unfortunately, when a distracted driver is behind the wheel of an 18-wheeler, these truck collisions can be life-threatening.
Numerous factors can lead to a motor vehicle collision, including:
- Distracted driving
- Drowsy driving
- Impaired driving
- Mechanical failures
- Weather conditions
- Road conditions
Of this list, though, the most common factor could be distracted driving. Distractions can come in many forms such as texting, eating or personal grooming, but they are generally separated into three categories:
- Visual distractions: Any action that forces a driver to look away from the road is considered a visual distraction. Watching a movie, perhaps, or looking to select the next cookie to eat as a snack represent visual distractions.
- Manual distractions: Activities that require a driver to remove a hand, or both, from the steering wheel are manual distractions. A driver holding a phone to their ear, for example, or reaching to the center console to grab a travel mug of coffee represent manual distractions.
- Cognitive distractions: These are mental distractions. When drivers begin to daydream or devote brainpower to thinking about where to eat or a negative conversation that could have gone a different way, this removes focus from the road.
What are some signs that a driver is distracted?
The drivers in a huge 18-wheeler sit so much higher up than those in smaller passenger vehicles that it is often hard to recognize what the driver is doing. Numerous vehicle actions can identify the driver as someone who is not paying attention to the road, including:
- Drifting across lane lines or driving side to side within the lane
- Ignoring traffic signals
- Failing to maintain a consistent speed
- Running red lights, stop signs or yield signs at an intersection
- Hitting the brakes suddenly, and for no reason
Truck collisions can result in severe injuries such as traumatic brain damage, paralysis and amputation. In serious crashes, vehicle occupants might suffer fatalities. It is wise to pay attention to the vehicles around you to identify signs that a driver might be distracted, impaired or drowsy.