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So many truck accidents could be avoided

Few things are more terrifying for a motorist than colliding with a truck. The sheer size and weight of a tractor-trailer assures that the passenger vehicle bears the brunt of the crash.

Lives are lost every day in truck accidents. Thanks to safety technology, more people are managing to survive such crashes. But there are simple, low-tech solutions for motorists and truck drivers to avoid collisions in the first place.

Two lesser-known causes of truck accidents

Many factors contribute to truck crashes, such as distracted driving and traffic violations. Here's a closer look at two overlooked causes of truck crashes and how trucking industry practices increase the odds of a fatal collision.

1. Long shifts and trucker fatigue

Highway driving can be monotonous and hypnotic. Some truck operators use distractions or stimulants to keep themselves alert. But eventually the hours take their toll. Driver fatigue is a major factor in truck accidents. Drowsy truckers may drift over the center line, rear-end another vehicle or simply react too slow in an emergency.

Federal law strictly regulates the number of hours truckers can drive in one day and total hours in a week. But those rules are regularly ignored -- often with the employer's blessing -- to meet delivery deadlines, financial goals or personal commitments. Truckers and their employers can be held accountable when willful violations lead to a serious crash.

2. Slippery road conditions

Weather conditions can seriously hamper control of any vehicle. This is especially true for 18-wheelers and other big trucks in rainy, snowy, icy or foggy conditions. It takes longer to stop a semi-truck even on dry pavement. In adverse road conditions, those stopping distances increase, along with the risk of the truck tipping over, jackknifing or sliding into oncoming traffic.

Truckers who drive too fast for conditions are tempting fate and endangering others. Trucking firms share the blame too when the send drivers out on the road with bad brakes or balding tires. Sometimes motorists are at fault for not giving trucks a wide berth in bad weather. Following too close or cutting in front of a truck can trigger a collision -- and remember, it's the occupants of the sedan or SUV (not the truck driver) who pay the price.

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66 Sunset Strip
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Succasunna, NJ 07876

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