You are currently viewing The Primary Causes of Accidents Involving Heavy Trucks

The Primary Causes of Accidents Involving Heavy Trucks

Australia experiences more than 25,000 truck-related accidents annually. Most of these accidents are from trucks colliding with other cars and trucks. Since trucks are heavy-duty vehicles, the results of traffic accidents involving trucks are usually severe. And with nearly 15% of traffic accidents caused by heavy-duty vehicles annually, it is a very alarming statistic.

Why are heavy trucks involved in so many accidents in Australia? Is it the fault of the truck drivers or other motorists on the roads?

Let’s explore the top three causes of accidents involving heavy trucks in Australia.

1) Poor Manoeuvrability

Many heavy-duty trucks tend to be too large to make turns smoothly, especially around corners. Smaller vehicles have a better advantage when turning because they don’t have to manoeuvre as much size and weight around.

An amateur heavy truck driver may not have the experience necessary to avoid accidents when making turns in a heavy truck. This is because turning requires the driver to be focused entirely on their surroundings to prevent accidents with pedestrians and other vehicles.

If the driver spaces out or gets distracted for one second, that is all it takes for them to make an accident-causing mistake.

Truck Accident

2) Exceeding the Gross Vehicle Mass 

Every heavy truck has a specific gross vehicle mass amount, which is the maximum load weight it can carry safely. If the heavy truck were to exceed its gross vehicle mass on the road, it could damage the truck or cause a severe accident on the road.

Exceeding the gross vehicle mass impacts the ability to drive a heavy truck safely. The crash risk increases because it is more difficult to handle and brake the vehicle with such a heavy load attached. That is why every heavy truck driver must obey the set gross vehicle mass recommended for their truck to avoid accidents.

Please note the gross vehicle mass factors in the vehicle weight and cargo weight. So when you calculate the cargo weight, please don’t assume it is the same amount as the gross vehicle mass. You also have to factor in the heavy truck’s weight as well.

3) Bad Weather or Road Conditions

Sometimes the reason for traffic accidents is not the fault of the heavy truck driver. Perhaps unexpected weather or road conditions, such as excessive rainfall, add more driving risk on the road. There could also be debris or obstructions on the road that might cause an accident too.

Regarding weather, a responsible heavy truck driver should check the local weather conditions before driving their heavy truck on the road. A driver may have a deadline to transport goods to a specific destination, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. If the weather is predicted to be bad, waiting for the storm to pass might be better before going out on the road again.

Other People Cause Nearly 95% of Heavy Truck-Related Accidents

Most heavy truck drivers are not responsible when behind the wheel of a truck in Australia. Statistics show that other pedestrians and motorists on the road cause nearly 95% of all accidents involving heavy trucks. Only a mere 5% of the accidents are the fault of the heavy truck drivers themselves.

The number one reason other motorists cause heavy truck-related traffic accidents is due to sideswiping. A motorist in a normal-sized vehicle may accidentally sideswipe a heavy truck if they get too close. Unfortunately, a heavy truck’s weight and mass can cause severe physical damage to a normal-sized car under these circumstances. Therefore, car drivers need to keep extra space between them and heavy trucks to avoid the chance of contact.

It is even worse when pedestrians on foot are involved in heavy truck-related accidents. Some pedestrians love to jaywalk or step out into the path of a heavy truck, thinking the truck driver can slow down quickly. But those pedestrians fail to realise that heavy trucks take longer to slow down than normal-sized cars, especially if they’re moving at fast speeds. If a heavy truck hits a pedestrian, they will suffer severe injury or death.

Motorists have a responsibility to drive safely when heavy trucks are around them. Keep a safe distance from the truck if it is in front of you. And please, avoid cutting in front of it unless you have no choice.

Truck Accident 2

Safety Tips to Avoid Accidents with Heavy Trucks

Let’s review some essential tips for avoiding accidents with heavy trucks:

Stay Away from Blind Spots

One of the crucial reasons to keep a safe distance from heavy trucks is blind spots. If you get too close to the side of a heavy truck, you’ll enter its blind spot. The truck driver can no longer see you if you enter the blind spot. Likewise, the trucks could also enter your blind spot if you aren’t aware of their location on the road.

Be Careful of Passing and Overtaking Heavy Trucks 

Most heavy truck drivers will drive more slowly than car motorists. This might compel a car motorist to pass and overtake the heavy truck driver to get ahead of them. But this could be a risky move if there is a lot of traffic or unsafe road conditions. So if you really want to overtake a heavy truck on the road, ensure there are no other vehicles around it and that the road conditions are safe.

Avoid Tailgating

Tailgating is never a good idea with any vehicle in front of you. But it is even riskier if you tailgate a heavy truck because of the potential damage it could cause to you if the truck driver slows down unexpectedly. So never tailgate any heavy truck because of its massive weight and size.

The Odds Are in Your Favour

Some accidents are unavoidable. You may be a perfect driver who follows all the traffic laws and gives other motorists the right of way. However, you cannot always depend on other drivers to do the right thing. But since the statistics show that only 5% of heavy truck drivers are responsible for accidents, the odds are more in your favour for avoiding accidents.

Contact a Professional Heavy-duty Towing Company in the Event of an Accident

If you have been in a traffic accident involving a heavy truck, contact the truck towing professionals at Executive Tilt Tray Services for assistance with the towing and transportation of your truck in any location in Perth on 0400 738 658. We can tow and transport any type of small, medium and large trucks – Find out more at

Leave a Reply