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What are the top causes of semi-truck collisions?

On Behalf of | Aug 18, 2023 | 18-Wheeler-Accidents

Some of the reasons that major crashes occur are outside of the control of the parties involved. A sinkhole that suddenly opens up, for example, is outside of the control of a driver and could potentially occur too quickly for motorists to engage in appropriate evasive maneuvers. Such situations are relatively rare, and most crashes result from common factors over which people have some degree of personal control. That is as true for collisions that involve semi-trucks as for crashes that only involve passenger vehicles.

When motorists understand what factors cause most collisions, they can make more safety-conscious choices in traffic. Some of the worst crashes every year involved passenger vehicles colliding with semi-trucks. These are the most common reasons such crashes occur.

Driver errors

Those in passenger vehicles sometimes make mistakes, possibly because they forget that safety rules are different when they are close to commercial trucks. They might drive in a vehicle’s blind spots or merge too close in front of a truck, essentially causing a crash. Drivers who refresh themselves occasionally about best safety practices when sharing space with commercial trucks could reduce their chance of causing a crash themselves.

Commercial drivers making the wrong choice

When looking at an analysis of the top causes of crashes where semi-trucks are at fault, commercial driver errors are the top-reported issue. Those in control of a semi-truck might maintain a speed that is too high given traffic conditions or get too close to other vehicles, which can ultimately be the cause of a crash that occurs.

Distraction and poor observation

The second leading reason that commercial drivers cause crashes is that they fail to notice something in their environment. They may fail to properly check their blind spots before merging or turning, or they might maneuver around a corner without properly looking for oncoming traffic. Improper surveillance contributes to a significant number of crashes between passenger vehicles and commercial trucks each year.


Sometimes, the reason a truck driver causes a crash with the passenger vehicle is that they have become incapable of performing their job responsibilities. One of the common sources of non-performance would be a driver falling asleep at the wheel. However, other times it would be a medical incident, like a heart attack, that renders a commercial driver incapable of maintaining control over their vehicle.

Although people in passenger vehicles don’t control what commercial drivers or their employers do, they can focus more on safety when they end up very close to a big truck in traffic. Learning about the factors that increase someone’s crash risk might help them make choices that keep them safer on the road.