An accident involving a semi-truck is more likely to occur in a rural area than in urban settings. This fact might seem counterintuitive, as one might think that a highly populated area with traffic congestion would pose a bigger risk of causing an accident. Yet statistically more accidents involving large semi-trucks occur in the middle of nowhere, on rural highways. Why is that so?
Drivers Are More Attentive in Cities & Towns
Densely populated areas, such as cities and towns, pose a higher number of hazards on the roadways. There are a higher number of other vehicles sharing the roadways, there is a higher frequency of bicyclists and pedestrians, and there is a higher volume of traffic lights and signs. Truck drivers need to be extra vigilant when driving in crowded areas to make sure that they drive safely. Truck drivers generally operate their vehicles at lower speeds and pay more attention to signage, road conditions, and the other drivers around them.
Aside from the driver’s increased attentiveness when driving in cities and towns, there are several safety precautions that force truck drivers to use more care within city limits. For example, speed limits are generally lower in cities and towns than on open freeways, and trucks are often restricted in terms of what lanes they can use on highways that runs through cities. These precautions make the roads safer inside city limits for all drivers.
All Alone, In the Middle of Nowhere
In areas where the population is less dense on the roadways, semi-truck drivers do not have to remain as vigilant when operating their large trucks. There is less congestion on the road, meaning fewer hazards and less risk. Truck drivers become laxer due to the perceived reduction in potential hazards on the road.
A number of factors contribute to a truck driver’s false sense of security on the road when driving in rural areas, a few of which include, but are not limited to:
- The hypnotizing effect of long stretches of monotonous, flat road and landscape
- Fewer other drivers on the roads, prompting a decline in driver vigilance behind the wheel
- Fewer other drivers on the road, making the truck driver think it is safe to engage in distracted driving, such as eating while driving, texting, using a cell phone to make a call, or manipulating the GPS systems or the radio
- Open rural roads may also encourage truckers to speed, especially if on a tight deadline
This false sense of security often lulls truck drivers into making careless mistakes that can lead to serious accidents. Unfortunately, the emptiness and remoteness of rural roads also make it difficult for crash victims to receive medical care in time to recover.
No matter where you are driving, we encourage you to exercise extra caution when near large semi-trucks and other commercial shipping vehicles. We wish you all safe travels!
Have you or a loved one recently been in an accident with a truck? Our firm can help. Contact the Charleston truck accident attorneys at Pierce, Sloan, Wilson Kennedy & Early LLC to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation to learn more.