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Which Is the Most Common Cause of Traffic Crashes for Truck Drivers?

Driving a large commercial truck is a challenging and often dangerous profession. In 2020 alone, 415,000 police-reported crashes involved large trucks. Of those crashes, more than 4,000 were fatal, and nearly a quarter of the accidents resulted in injuries.

Fleet managers can protect their drivers and businesses by addressing the three most common causes of traffic crashes: driver error, mechanical failure and other drivers.  

Top 3 Reasons for Truck Accidents, with Solutions

Here are three of the most common causes of traffic crashes, which managers can train their drivers to prepare for when getting behind the wheel.

1. Driver Error

Everyone makes mistakes while on the road, and truck drivers are no exception. Driver errors include:

  • Failing to check blind spots
  • Driving Drowsy
  • Changing lanes improperly
  • Braking suddenly
  • Tailgating
  • Disobeying traffic signs
  • Speeding
  • Driving distracted

Solution: Bad Habit-Breaking Training Sessions

TranSim by L3Harris, a truck driving simulator, offers the ability to create customized scenarios for each bad habit among drivers in a fleet. Drivers can repeat these sessions until their bad habits are overcome, and the new truck driver training becomes ingrained in their muscle memory. 

2. Mechanical Failure

Mechanical failures are dangerous because they're unpredictable—even the most well-maintained vehicle can experience failure. Common mechanical failures truckers face on the road often involve brakes and tires.

Brake failure is often due to a lack of maintenance, overheating, or leaking brake fluid. Losing control of the brake system is alarming for both the driver and other drivers, so this situation requires prompt action.

Tire blowouts can happen because the tires are old, worn out, or improperly inflated. When a tire blows out, the driver may lose control of the truck and need to make quick decisions for everyone’s safety. 

Solution: Maintenance Checks and Emergency Training Sessions

Fleet managers should have training sessions that cover the necessary maintenance of trucks and warning signs. By taking the time to demonstrate and answer questions, fleet managers can prevent accidents and injuries while saving time and money by catching mechanical failures early.

Additionally, using a truck driving simulator can prepare drivers for mechanical failures that happen on the road. TranSim mimics the feel of driving a commercial truck, so an instructor could create a scenario in which a tire blows out, requiring the driver to quickly gain control of the vehicle.

3. Other Drivers

Sometimes truck accidents aren’t the fault of the truck driver but rather of other drivers. Roughly 63% of the time, the event that caused a fatal crash involving a large truck was “another vehicle, person, animal, or object” being in or crowding a truck’s lane.

Typical passenger driver mistakes include:

  • Driving distracted
  • Driving in a truck’s blind spot
  • Passing a truck in an unsafe manner
  • Suddenly changing lanes in front of a truck (cutting it off)
  • Driving between two trucks
  • Driving to the right of a truck while it’s making a right turn
  • Giving a truck insufficient time to cross an intersection or finish a turn

Solution: Mental Preparedness

While truck drivers can’t control the drivers around them, they can control their responses. The ability to react quickly and responsibly typically comes from experience. A truck driving simulator can create this type of situation safely.

Trainers can program a scenario where a vehicle suddenly appears in front of the trainee’s truck. Because the trainee is in a controlled environment, a poor reaction doesn’t create a life-or-death situation. Instead, they get the opportunity to learn from their mistakes before getting behind a heavy-duty truck's wheel.

Prepare Drivers for All Situations with an L3Harris Truck Driving Simulator 

Life on the road can be unpredictable, but it is possible to prepare drivers for as many situations as possible. Truck driver training is essential in creating safe and efficient drivers, starting with using a simulator.

TranSim by L3Harris provides a safe environment for trainers and trainees to work through the various scenarios that may occur on the road. Using a truck driving simulator saves money by eliminating the risk of injuries or damage to equipment and reducing fuel usage.

Contact us today to learn more about L3Harris driving simulators and how they can benefit your fleet.

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