Did you know that there are more than 14,000 car accidents every day in the United States?
If you have ever seen a motorist make a poor choice, you’ve probably wondered how their car managed to stay intact. Or maybe you have experienced a close call that caused you to reconsider your own driving techniques! Sometimes the worst driving choices serve as the best lessons in how to drive safely.
If you drive a semi truck in Houston, TX, take a glance at these bad driving decisions so that you can be reminded to drive safely.
1. Distracted Driving
Distracted driving is when a driver is engaged in something else while they are driving. Driving while distracted might raise the likelihood of a car accident. One of the worst and most prevalent driving vices is texting and driving.
When it comes to driver safety, distracted driving has emerged as one of the most significant problems in recent years. Although the idea of distracted driving is not new, the widespread habit of texting while driving has brought the issue up for consideration in almost every legislative assembly in the country.
In reality, 3,142 people died in traffic incidents involving distracted drivers in the United States in 2019, according to figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). This represented 9 percent of the fatal collisions that year.
Teenagers and young people, in particular, are the most distracted by texting and other hand-held cell phone activities while driving.
Driving while texting causes three different types of distraction:
- Their focus is not on the road
- They are not paying attention to other vehicles
- They are not holding the wheel with both hands
Never assume that another driver is paying attention or will abide by the rules of the road. Employers ought to have a strict policy on texting and other forms of distracted driving. By keeping in mind that the majority of drivers engage in this risky behavior, commercial drivers can safeguard themselves.
2. Unsafe Lane Changes
Due to the state of the road or the type of vehicle being driven, making a lane change too quickly might result in unsafe lane shifts. The idea is that reckless lane changes result in collisions with potentially fatal consequences.
In moving traffic, lane changes can be challenging, particularly for tractor-trailers and other heavy vehicles. Lane changes may be problematic due to blind spots and the substantial amount of space that a commercial truck needs on the road.
Examples of poor lane-changing decisions made by drivers include the following:
- executing swift lane changes
- failing to use a turn signal to signal an upcoming lane change
- not checking mirrors and blind spots before lane changes
- crossing multiple lanes at once
By keeping ample space between their cars and other traffic on the road and by keeping an eye on every vehicle they share the road with, including those in adjacent lanes, truck drivers can prevent accidents brought on by hazardous lane changes.
When a driver follows too closely behind another vehicle, there is not enough room for them to stop safely if the car in front suddenly stops. This practice is known as tailgating.
By failing to maintain a safe space between your car and the one in front of it, you are tailgating.
The definition of “safe distance” depends on your speed, visibility, and other road conditions. The safe distance varies according to the country, but in general, the driver should maintain a gap of at least two seconds or a distance higher than half the speed in meters.
One of the largest errors that drivers make is following another car too closely. It is particularly risky to drive too closely behind a truck since drivers of smaller vehicles cannot see around or in front of the truck.
A rear-end collision is likely if there is a change in traffic or an obstacle on the road and the truck driver is forced to slow down or halt. The possibility of an underride accident, in which the smaller car slides under the truck’s back, is also very real.
By keeping a safe following distance and providing extra space in poor weather or when hauling a large load, which will affect how long it takes for their cars to stop, truck drivers can lower their risk of being involved in a rear-end collision.
Many fatal car accidents each year are caused by speeding. Driving too fast for the current road, traffic, or weather conditions or exceeding the posted speed limit can be fatal since driving too fast increases the severity of an accident.
Additionally, speeding reduces the amount of time a driver has to slow down or stop for another car or a roadblock. As they weave in and out of slower-moving traffic, speeding drivers are also more likely to make risky lane changes.
Speeding is one of the worst driving choices due to all of these concerns, serving as a reminder of safe driving techniques.
Do you go faster because you’re running late? Make it a practice to leave a little earlier. You can begin adding extra time as you develop this new habit based on where you’re going, how far it is, and the volume of traffic.
Truck drivers may safeguard themselves and everyone else on the road in addition to adhering to speed limits by keeping a close eye on other drivers’ actions, giving extra space around their own cars, and reporting speeding when they observe it.
5. Drunk Driving
Despite being against the law, drunk driving nevertheless leads to many accidents on American roads. According to the NHTSA, drivers who have blood alcohol levels above the legal limit are involved in approximately 30 percent of fatal crashes. Truck drivers are more prone to run with intoxicated drivers due to the length of their commute, especially late at night.
Employers must follow local, state, and federal laws when enforcing drug and alcohol testing. Truck drivers should exercise additional caution on the road and report any driver who looks to be inebriated by calling 911.
Possible indicators of intoxicated driving include:
- lane changes and lane weaving
- a delayed time to react
rapid acceleration or slowdown
- nearly colliding with a vehicle or curb
- erroneous braking
- driving erratically
Driving under the influence can result in collisions that inflict paralysis, disfigurement, brain damage, and fatalities. It’s a crime to drive while intoxicated. Drunk drivers will incur hefty fines, lose their licenses, and have to pay more for insurance.
6. Ignoring Weather Conditions
Extreme weather patterns can affect how you normally drive. It mostly affects your vision, which is severely impaired in bad weather, including rain, fog, ice, snow, and dust.
Fog is most likely the riskiest weather condition of all, so if you’re driving in it, slow down and use your low-beam headlights. When visibility is so poor due to the fog, pull safely and fully off the road.
Additionally, you ought to reduce your speed as soon as there is rain, drizzle, or snow on the ground. Because of the mixing of moisture with oil and dust that hasn’t been rinsed away, many road surfaces are at their most slick during this time. You run the risk of losing control of your vehicle because of the risky roadways.
Everyone on the road is put at risk when weather conditions like rain, snow, fog, and wind reduce visibility and make roads hazardous.
Sadly, some motorists choose to get behind the wheel and proceed to drive as they would on a bright, clear day. They fail to consider the possibility of black ice, which is invisible to the naked eye but can be fatal if necessary precautions aren’t taken.
When driving in bad weather, motorists must modify their speed, perform slower turns and other movements, and exercise extra caution. They should stop and wait it out if they can if the weather is too terrible. If they haven’t already hit the road, they should wait it out at home or in another secure location.
However, other factors besides just the cold and precipitation can alter your driving style. High winds, glaring sun, and temperatures that are too hot should also be considered.
Involved In a Semi Truck Crash In Houston, TX?
Nobody wants to get in an accident. That’s why it’s important to take every second behind the wheel seriously, especially if you’re a professional driver. Now that you’re aware of these driving tips, you can head out onto the road safely.
The O’Hara Law Firm vigorously pursues the best outcome for every client. If you’ve been involved in a semi truck crash in Houston, TX, contact us here so that we can help you receive the justice you deserve.