Distractions caused by fatigue or drowsiness, technical failures, errors made due to alcohol consumption... The reasons for traffic accidents in long-distance transportation are many and quite varied. Despite the optimism that data portrays, such as the 17% decrease in fatalities along EU roads between 2019 and 2020, transporting routes continue to be the scenes of many accidents that are, in many cases, preventable.
Which are the main causes of accidents?
Driving accidents are, in most of the cases, due to multiple factors happening at once. They are caused by one or more of the following reasons:
Speeding and other traffic violations. Even though the regulations are strict, exceeding the allowed limits while driving is the cause behind some of the most dangerous accidents. Other violations include not respecting the following distances or traffic signs.
Distractions. Checking the phone while driving or fidgeting with the center console, as well as not keeping the eyes on the road pose an obvious threat.
Fatigue or drowsiness. Driving for too long or not sleeping enough increases the risks for driving professionals.
Alcohol or drug consumption. Taking illegal substances, which are sometimes aimed at overcoming tiredness without actually resting, will clearly trigger a dangerous situation sooner or later.
Lack of vehicle maintenance. Not following the vehicle inspection periods indicated by the manufacturers or doing it only partially to save costs will increase the possibilities of an accident. The older the vehicle is, the higher the chances are of experiencing a traffic accident.
Poor cargo stowage. Unbalanced cargo stowage can lead to dangerous inertia. Complying to regulations in this matter is key.
You may also be interested in: Six advantages of road freight transportation.
What consequences do traffic accidents have on freight transportation?
The most important cost that derives from road accidents within the road freight transportation industry is the human cost. The amount of working hours that professionals have to spend at the wheel exposes them to several dangerous situations. How this risk is perceived is one of the reasons why there are so few drivers that make a living by transporting goods.
On the other hand, accidents have a direct financial impact on the operations of companies that transport goods. A traffic accident represents mandatory vehicle repair costs and, in many cases, the loss of the cargo itself. Moreover, the damage also affects the customer’s satisfaction, which is compromised when a delivery service is not fulfilled.
The accident of a road freight vehicle represents mandatory vehicle repair costs and, in most of the cases, the loss of the cargo itself
How to prevent accidents when driving?
Prevention is not only the most effective way to avoid traffic accidents or to minimize them as much as possible; it is also the most economical strategy to tackle these incidents. Here’s seven tips to prevent them:
Route planning. Deciding beforehand the route of each vehicle is useful for recognizing any dangerous traffic zones, either due to excessive traffic or to adverse road conditions. When it comes to planning the route, for which technology is required, gas stations and safe rest areas should be marked.
Preventive maintenance plan. Establishing an inspection plan is key to reducing accidents originated from mechanical failure. This includes the manufacturers’ recommended inspections and any other additional inspections.
Training. The best drivers are the ones that know how to behave in every situation in order to avoid an accident and deliver their cargo in the best conditions possible. Driving safely implies knowing each vehicle, respecting the following distances, or taking curves at the right time. Conducting safe driving practices is the best way to prevent risks.
Rest and health practices. Getting adequate amounts of sleep at night or through short naps, as well as taking breaks periodically, is paramount to performing appropriately at the wheel. It is also important to avoid large and unhealthy meals, as well as to perform moderate physical activity and joint stretching exercises while resting in parking lots.
Avoid distractions. Drivers must focus and use all their senses when driving. Manufacturers are already focusing on reducing the amount of notifications drivers receive when riding a vehicle, such as highly complex touch screens or center consoles.
The future of trucking depends, to a large extent, on ensuring a noticeable decrease in the number of accidents. Automation, digitalization, and the advent of semi-autonomous transportation units are three factors of imminent disruption; and they will all have a direct impact on the safety of freight transportation vehicles.
Learn how to transport your cargo quicker, farther, and safer here.