What to Do After a Semi Truck Accident

What to Do After a Semi Truck Accident

Semi trucks are enormous, oversized vehicles that can cause significant damage in an accident. Unfortunately, truck driver accidents do still occur. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that in 2019, heavy truck collisions were responsible for over 5,000 fatalities and more than 159,000 severe injuries. While everyone hopes they will never find themselves in a situation where they are involved in an accident, it is still good to know what you should do if it does happen. In this post, we’ll discuss some of the most common causes of semi truck accidents and what steps you should take if you ever find yourself in a semi truck accident.

Common Reasons for Semi Truck Accidents

Truck drivers should continuously operate their vehicles with caution. But even then, accidents can still happen. These are some of the most common reasons semi truck accidents occur.

Blind Spots

Blind spots can be a reason for truck driver accidents in various instances. One of these instances is when vehicles follow too quickly in front of or behind a semi-truck. Due to their massive size, semi trucks need more space to slow down. So, any vehicle that stops too abruptly in front of a truck may need more space to avoid getting hit from behind. Similarly, following a semi too closely could lead to a passenger vehicle colliding with the truck as they may not be ready to break in time.

Driver Exhaustion

Driving trucks is exhausting, requiring full attention for long hours. Additionally, sometimes these hours do not line up with standard sleeping patterns. That is why driver fatigue is a common reason for semi truck accidents. Being fatigued can cause them to make careless mistakes. 

Sudden Lane Changes

Whether on the part of the semi truck driver or a passenger vehicle driver, sudden lane changes are a danger on the road. These sudden movements can cause a chain reaction of maneuvers by the drivers that could lead to them losing control. In addition, truck drivers have a responsibility to take extra time to ensure there isn’t a vehicle in their blind spots any time they want to change lanes. 

Distracted Driving

Any time a driver is distracted, there is a risk of an accident, such as if your truck overturned today. It can lead to veering outside your lane, not breaking in time for the vehicle in front of you, and more. All drivers should eliminate distractions, including their phones, while on the road to prevent devastating accidents.

What Happens When a Truck Driver Has an Accident?

If you are in an accident, such as if your truck overturned today, follow these steps to protect yourself and the others involved.

Stick Around

The most important thing to do after being involved in a semi truck accident is to stick around until law enforcement permits you to leave. It doesn’t matter if you think the accident was minor. The Federal Motor Carrier Act requires drivers involved in an accident to stop and exchange information and stop to render aid, if applicable.

Contact Law Enforcement

For legal documentation of the accident, always ensure that law enforcement has been contacted. If other parties are involved in the accident, you can ask whether they have contacted the proper authorities. If they have not, it is your responsibility to do so. If the accident is fatal, a drug test will be required immediately to verify whether any drivers were under the influence. However, law enforcement may also ask for a drug test in other situations.

Exchange Information

At this point, you should also exchange information with the other parties involved. The information you will want to collect from others and provide them about yourself includes insurance company names, every party’s driver’s license number, the policy number of the other drivers, and the other drivers’ addresses, email addresses, full names, and phone numbers.

Document the Accident

In today’s world, we almost always have our phones with us. This gives you an excellent opportunity to document the situation. Take photos of damages, injuries, and the scene. These photos can help the situation.

Seek Treatment

After you have been cleared to leave the scene, seeking treatment for your injuries is always recommended. This is true even if it doesn’t immediately seem like you were injured. There are two reasons for this. The first is that some injuries may not be apparent right away. An injury like whiplash may only be evident when a doctor looks at it. The second is that this will provide you with excellent documentation in case you need to prove an injury later. The longer you wait to receive treatment, the less valid it may seem in the eyes of the law.

Can Truck Drivers Keep Their Job After an Accident?

There is no easy answer to this question. In the case of minor collisions, you may still be able to work as a driver. Employers in the industry understand that sometimes accidents occur even for drivers with a long record of safe driving. However, there are specific reasons you might need to surrender your commercial driver’s license. These include vehicular manslaughter, drunk driving, and leaving the scene of an accident. If any of these situations occurs, it is likely that you will lose your job in addition to facing legal penalties. 

In addition to knowing what to do in an accident, it’s also essential to know where to find reliable, high-quality commercial trucks. In Chicago, the best resource is Handshake Fleet. Connect with us today.

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