Most Texas drivers are used to sharing the road with large trucks. However, sometimes the sight of a tractor-trailer may cause fear or concern, especially if the driver is speeding. Accidents involving large trucks may lead to severe injuries and significant property damage. It may be helpful to understand the relationship between speeding and truck crashes, especially when road conditions are less than ideal.
According to a National Highway Traffic Safety Association report, the number of fatalities related to large truck accidents in 2017 rose 9% over the statistics from 2016. The vast majority of those fatalities (72%) were occupants of other vehicles involved in the crashes; only 18% of the deaths were occupants of large trucks. Texas had 621 fatal crashes involving large trucks, which was higher than any other state.
There are several possible causes of accidents involving large trucks, and speeding is a common one. Specifically, many accidents happen when trucks are going too fast for the existing road conditions. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration provides specific suggestions for truck drivers to help them maintain safe speeds. Truck drivers often go too fast when there are road issues such as ice, snow or water. The FMCSA recommends that drivers go only 50% to 66% of their normal speed when roads are wet or snow-packed. Experts also caution drivers against using “Jake” brakes on wet roads.
Winding roads may be dangerous for trucks in any weather. It is vital for drivers to approach turns slowly even when road conditions are good. In most cases, trying to brake in the middle of a curve is ineffective and may lead to a crash. Speed limit signs on curves generally indicate safe speeds for passenger vehicles; trucks should go slower. Truck drivers may help prevent fatalities by maintaining safe speeds, especially in challenging conditions.