If you are lucky, you will never find yourself in the middle of an accident involving a semitruck. Still, 18-wheeler accidents are more common than you probably think. In fact, according to recent data, commercial trucking accidents cause roughly 130,000 injuries every year. Even worse, an estimated 5,000 accidents result in someone’s death.

Because your family vehicle is likely significantly smaller than a tractor-trailer, you do not want to swap paint with one. If you sustain an injury during a collision with a semitruck, you must act quickly to protect yourself, recover from injuries and explore legal options. Nonetheless, by understanding why 18-wheeler accidents typically occur, you can better avoid a collision altogether. Here are three common reasons semitruck accidents happen.

1. The truck driver behaves irresponsibly 

Commercial truck drivers usually receive extensive training on how to stay safe on America’s roadways. Still, truck drivers are not perfect. On the contrary, the following situations may cause a semitruck operator to drive carelessly:

  • Using cellphones, GPS devices or otherwise driving while distracted
  • Consuming alcohol or driving under the influence of drugs
  • Continuing a run despite feeling drowsy
  • Driving too fast for road conditions

Additionally, the way carriers load trucks may make them more dangerous than necessary. For example, an overweight trailer may be an accident waiting to happen. Further, drivers who haul hazardous materials in an ill-equipped vehicle may be asking for trouble. 

2. Other motorists fail to drive cautiously 

As you may suspect, semitruck accidents are not always the fault of the truckdriver. Motorists driving regular passenger cars often contribute to semitruck collisions. If you want to avoid a wreck, you must drive cautiously. Here are some tips:

  • Look twice before merging
  • Allow plenty of distance between your vehicle and semitrucks
  • Stay out of blind spots
  • Use your turn signals
  • Brake slowly and consistently 

3. Everyday events intervene 

Even if both you and the semitruck operator drive diligently, natural events may contribute to a terrible wreck. During rain, snow and ice storms, 18-wheelers may not be able to stop quickly. Further, on congested roadways, truck drivers may have a more difficult time reaching their destinations without an incident. Either way, when everyday events intervene, both you and semitruck drivers must exercise additional caution to avoid an accident.

To stay safe on highways and roads in Massachusetts, you must drive responsibly. You probably cannot completely eliminate your risk of a collision with a commercial truck. Nonetheless, by understanding why accidents occur, you can likely improve your odds of arriving safely.