For many, the highway is an adventure waiting to happen. For others, it can bring grief for having to deal with a commercial truck accident.
At Camco Wheel & Axle, we don’t just do truck upfits or sell truck accessories. In a sense, we help prevent accidents caused by commercial trucks through the many repair services, utility trailers parts, and truck accessories we have to ensure that your commercial vehicle is in proper working condition. A well-maintained utility vehicle and trailer are two of the best forms of protection for you and your team.
As you travel from project to project, be on the lookout for these frequent causes of commercial truck accidents, and remember to bring your commercial vehicle to Camco Wheel & Axle in Pharr if you see any problems so that you can avoid becoming another statistic.
1. Brake Problems
In a study conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 29 percent of all commercial truck accidents—whether they are 18-wheelers, semis, big rigs, flatbeds or tankers—are caused by a failure in the braking system.
When brakes fail, not only is the driver at risk, everyone on the road is at risk as well. An unstoppable big rig can also cause serious property damage.
Checking for poor air pressure or worn out components is just a few of the many things you can do to ensure your brakes are in working order. Make sure to inspect your brakes thoroughly before your next haul, or if you have any concerns, bring it by and one of our experienced technicians will take a look at it.
2. External Distractions
Keeping focused on the road can be hard when you are on one of those long hauls. It is important, however, to remain focused on the road ahead and not pay attention to outside distractions that can cause an accident.
Some of those distractions include but are not limited to:
- Cell phones
- Electronic devices
- Searching for items on the floor
- Eating while driving
It is absolutely vital that your drivers remain vigilant and aware while driving. Fleet supervisors should deliver proper training and effectively communicate safety protocols.
3. Misjudging the Distance or Speed of Another Vehicle
A fully loaded tractor-trailer traveling at 60 mph needs approximately 370 feet to make a full stop. That is 70 feet more than a standard football field. Gauge how fast the other vehicles are moving and adjust your distance accordingly.
The quality of your tires and brakes play a huge role in this process, especially during bad weather conditions. Failing to maintain these components of your commercial vehicle will increase the likelihood of causing an accident.
4. Inadequate Surveillance
When pulling out of a driveway, ensure that you have plenty of time to pull the truck and trailer onto the road without the risk of another vehicle crashing into you.
Inadequate surveillance would mean that you failed to look both ways when pulling out of a parking lot. Large commercial trucks with trailers attached can be challenging to maneuver. Ensure that there aren’t any other vehicles nearby that could crash into you.
This isn’t limited to turns, however. Failing to look at your blind spots is considered inadequate surveillance. Check your mirrors every 5 to 8 seconds to spot and avoid overtaking other vehicles on the road.
Rearview cameras can be especially helpful in tight conditions. The upfitting professionals at Camco Wheel & Axle can install the perfect system for you.
5. Making an Illegal Maneuver
Commercial truck drivers must adhere to the rules of the road when they are behind the wheel. Failing to do so can cause an accident. No matter how close to deadline your next haul is or how tired you are, don’t make an illegal maneuver.
Illegal maneuvers can encompass:
- Making a right or left turn from the wrong lane.
- Going down the wrong way, no matter the distance.
- Making a U-turn where you aren’t permitted.
- Making a turn into an area that doesn’t permit entrance.
- Illegal passing or overtaking where it is not permitted.
Avoiding these illegal maneuvers ensures that everyone on the road remains safe.
6. An Overweight Vehicle
An overweight vehicle isn’t calculated by your cargo load alone. You must take into account the chassis, fuel, body, engine, engine fluids, tongue weights, accessories, the driver, and the passenger.
When loading more weight on to a trailer, however, be aware that surpassing the gross vehicle weight rating or the gross axle weight rating can cause your tires to bend in unnatural ways. While experiencing this unnatural bend, the delicate balance of air pressure within your tires can heat up, ruining the integrity of the tire’s sidewall and ultimately causing the tire to fail.
Overweight commercial trucks can also strain the braking system, damaging it and requiring costly repairs. Refer to your label, and adhere to the GVWR at all times.
Purchasing the right utility trailer with the right Camco Wheel & Axel utility trailer accessories is the first step to ensuring an overweight vehicle doesn’t cause a crash.
7. Lastly, Traveling Too Fast for Conditions
According to the Large Truck Crash Causation Study, it was reported that 23 percent of large-truck crashes occurred when commercial trucker drivers were traveling too fast under certain conditions.
As per the FMCSA, driving too fast for conditions is defined as traveling at speeds that are greater than a reasonable standard for safe driving. Examples of these conditions include:
- Wet roadways (from rain, snow or ice)
- Reduced visibility (like fog)
- Uneven roads
- Construction zones
- Gravel roads
- Heavy traffic
Take on a slow and steady approach when encountering and traveling through these conditions.
Don’t become another statistic. Put your commercial vehicle or fleet in the hands of our skilled Camco technician today to ensure your vehicles are safe and well maintained.
Rest easy knowing that Camco Wheel & Axle, the Rio Grande Valley’s #1 total vehicle solution, is doing all that we can to make your next haul safer for you and your drivers.