Most Truck Crashes Happen in the Fall
The National Safety Council has been tracking and reporting on truck crashes for years. In their most recent data on month-by-month collision statistics, the "harvest season" from August through October records the highest number of fatal truck crashes annually, despite truckers driving fewer miles in these months compared to summer. In 2019 alone, about 27% of all fatal truck crashes occurred during this time of year.
Since this is often considered the deadliest time of year for truck drivers, it is understandable that every motorist wants to know why this trend exists and what they should be doing to mitigate it. Here's what you need to know.
Why Does This Happen?
Depending on where you are located, the number of large trucks on the road during autumn can vary. When farmers begin harvesting crops in early-to-mid-September, states with more agricultural business tend to see a lot of truck traffic for cross-country transport. In Kentucky, where ginseng, grapes/wine, and hemp crops provide a significant boost to the economy during these months, it is not uncommon to see many trucks coming and going. However, this time of year also highlights the importance of securing cargo.
According to research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, more than 200,000 crashes over a four-year period were caused by debris on the road. This resulted in nearly 10,000 injuries and 125 deaths annually. Although not all of these were caused by truck cargo and crops, it reinforces the importance of proper loading and securing these items.
What Motorists Can Do to Improve the Roadway
When drivers are adjusting their morning commute in the fall to account for dropping children off at school and more teens behind the wheel, it is crucial to remember that the road is a shared space. You can do many things to protect not only your vehicle but also truck drivers and other motorists from preventable accidents. Here are some things you can do to mitigate risk this truck crash season.
Be Mindful of Road Debris
As mentioned previously, road debris can become even more common during the fall as trucks are loaded with loose crops being transported across the country. If you see a lot of drivers changing lanes suddenly or scattered items in the distance, slow down and pay attention to if there is anything in the roadway.
Slow Down, Especially with Increased Traffic
No matter the time of day, driving excess speeds can be dangerous for any vehicle, especially if a large truck's cargo is not secured properly. However, passenger car drivers should be aware of how their speed can affect a truck driver. Speeding around a large truck, cutting them off, or lingering in the blindspot can cause a trucker to suddenly jerk the wheel or maneuver in a way that may be unsafe for everyone on the road.
If you see a large truck stalled on the side of the road or driving on a multiple-lane highway, it is much safer for you to move to another lane than to be caught in a tricky situation. If a truck is pulled over, the driver is likely checking on their cargo or for other issues. Rather than speed by and potentially endanger both you and the truck driver, slow down and move over for extra protection.
Stay Alert by Avoiding Distractions
Kentucky drivers already know that texting and driving is against the law, but there are many other forms of distraction that may endanger you. If you are daydreaming, rubbernecking, or even simply changing the radio, it could turn a casual drive into a dangerous scenario. When driving, be mindful of how these little actions can impact your ability to handle your vehicle and avoid engaging in harmful activities behind the wheel.
Paducah Truck Accident Attorneys
Our Kentucky truck accident attorneys have spent decades protecting all motorists from negligent driving behaviors. If you or a loved one sustained an injury during a collision with a large truck and are seeking legal representation, call (270) 778-0020 to discuss your options.