All drivers make countless judgments. Do I have time to enter an intersection or exit a parking lot without causing a collision? How fast should I drive in a heavy rain? Should I assume that the other driver will yield?
Poor decisions contribute to most accidents, even if they are not the primary cause. However, the FMCSA rates poor judgment as the primary cause of 38% of all truck accidents. Illegal maneuvers, such as making an unlawful U-turn on an interstate, are obvious examples of poor judgment, but many of the other crash causes discussed here, such as tailgating and speeding, can also be attributed to a driver’s poor judgment.
Commercial drivers are professionals, but their judgment is not necessarily better than any other driver’s. When truck drivers make a bad decision, however, the consequences are often deadly.
Like poor judgment, poor performance is a contributing cause of many accidents, even if it is not the primary cause. The FMCSA rates poor performance as the primary cause of about 10% of all truck accidents.
Poor performance refers to a failure to respond to circumstances correctly. Failing to steer a tractor-trailer in a way that will control a potential jackknife is an example of poor performance. Failing to take safe evasive action when confronted with a road hazard is another example.
Truck drivers sometimes have the attitude that they are the biggest vehicle on the road and smaller vehicles should get out of the way. Aggressive drivers change lanes frequently, tailgate slower vehicles to encourage them to move over, and try to beat red lights. Again, while any driver can cause an accident by being aggressive, an aggressive semi driver is more likely to place lives at risk than other drivers.