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Supply Chain Pressures May Make Truck Accidents More Likely

The global supply chain has been in the news frequently over the past two years. Most reports focus on how the pandemic has impacted various parts of the supply chain, particularly manufacturing plants and international transport. However, current global conditions affect much more than just the economy.

When supply chains get tight, the consequences include everything from the stock market to traffic safety. One of the most overlooked impacts of disrupted supply chains is its impact on the health and safety of workers in the parts of the chain that are still functional.

For example, current supply delays may make truck drivers more prone to severe, even fatal, accidents. This can put you at risk every time you’re on the road. Here’s what you need to know about why supply chain pressures may make truck accidents more common and what to do to protect yourself.

Why Supply Chain Shortages May Cause Accidents

There’s no doubt that international deliveries are slower, and manufacturers are sometimes struggling to meet quotas. Labor shortages, tariffs, and quarantines make it harder to produce necessary items on time and in essential quantities. Domestic trucking is one of the few elements of the supply that hasn’t been directly affected by these problems.

Domestic truckers don’t face issues crossing international borders and have minimal contact with other people, protecting them from illness. However, they’re still suffering from indirect consequences of these issues. In fact, truck drivers are under the most pressure they’ve experienced in years.

With most other parts of the supply chain falling short, customers are looking to trucking companies to pick up the slack. More clients request expedited deliveries or choose to source products domestically instead of internationally. These trends put more pressure on the companies to make more deliveries in less time.

In turn, this pressure is placed on the drivers. The trucking industry already has a reputation for incentivizing drivers to perform unsafe behaviors like skipping legally mandated breaks or taking stimulants to drive longer. With the extra business caused by supply chain disruptions, these incentives are greater than ever before, and more drivers may be cutting corners and driving tired or intoxicated to get the job done.

Furthermore, companies want to keep trucks on the road as much as possible. Common concerns like truck maintenance and safety may get ignored to meet expedited order deadlines and keep up with business. Trucks owned by unscrupulous companies are likely starting to suffer the effects of poor upkeep.

Unfortunately, these factors mean accidents are more likely. Studies show that two of the biggest causes of trucking accidents are driver fatigue and poor maintenance. Unsafe trucks driven by sleepy or distracted drivers can lead to more accidents and worse consequences for other people involved.

How to Avoid Truck Accidents on the Road

You have no control over other drivers when you’re on the road. However, you can take measures to protect yourself. If you’re understandably worried about getting in an accident with a semi, here are four tips to keep yourself safe and avoid truck accidents that are your fault.

1. Be Aware of Blind Spots

The length and size of the average semi mean that blind spots are inevitable. Shipping trucks are simply too large for drivers to see all of their surroundings. While responsible drivers try to track when cars have entered or left their blind spots, truckers struggling with fatigue often miss people in their blind spots entirely.

Do your best to avoid spending time in a truck’s blind spots. If you can’t see the truck’s mirrors, assume that the driver can’t see you. The worst blind spots are directly behind the truck, beside the cab’s driver-side door, and along the passenger side of the cab and trailer. If you’re in any of these locations, adjust your speed until you can see the mirrors or you’re in front of the truck entirely.

2. Keep Space Between You and Semis

Trucks don’t have great stopping power. Even with the most powerful brakes, it still takes a long time for a semi to stop at highway speeds. There’s just too much inertia. Avoid slamming on your brakes in front of a semi whenever possible, and keep at least two car lengths between you and a semi at all times.

Similarly, don’t tailgate semis. The blind spot goes both ways. You can’t see ahead of the semi, and you may end up rear-ending the truck if it has to stop suddenly because of someone else’s poor driving.

3. Pay Attention to Weather Conditions

Shipping trucks become particularly dangerous in extreme weather conditions. They’re prone to tipping over in high crosswinds. They’re also more likely to skid or fishtail when roads are wet or icy. If the weather impacts your driving at all, expect that it will be significantly worse for semi drivers.

If you need to drive during bad weather, give trucks an even wider berth than usual. You’re more likely to be able to respond in time should the truck lose control if you keep plenty of room between you.

4. Drive Politely

You should always follow traffic laws. However, plenty of traffic behaviors may not be illegal but are dangerous. For instance, cutting someone off, slamming on your brakes, and frequently switching lanes aren’t against the law, but they can all put you and other drivers at risk.

These are precisely the kinds of behaviors you should avoid around semis, especially when trucks and drivers are struggling. Truckers are less likely to be able to respond to erratic driving behavior right now. Assume that every semi driver is distracted and sleepy and drive politely around them. At worst, you’ll be a better driver, and at best, you’ll avoid causing an accident that could kill you.

Truck Accidents Are Too Common: Protect Yourself

Supply chain pressures have made truckers more dangerous for drivers like you. You can protect yourself by driving safely and giving semi-trucks extra space.

However, if you’ve already been harmed by a truck accident, you deserve help. Schedule your consultation with the expert truck accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Todd M. Friedman, P.C., today. They can help you hold the trucking company accountable for any corners it cut and fight for damages to help you recover from the accident.

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