By Adam B. Lawler | October 13, 2021

Head-on Truck Collisions

Head-on Truck Collisions

Head-on truck collisions can occur at any time without warning. Trucks are large and take up more space on the road, making them more likely to drift out of their lanes and swerve into oncoming traffic. This can make it difficult for oncoming drivers to avoid them and lead to head-on collisions with massive trucks. Big trucks weigh more than 80,000 pounds and need more space to maneuver than smaller passenger vehicles. Not only do they take up more space, but their trailers can more easily drift into oncoming lanes of traffic, and due to their size, the truck driver can't easily correct their driving. Even when the truck driver realizes they drifted out of their lane, they often can't bring the truck back before colliding with another vehicle. If you are in a head-on collision with a commercial truck, you might be facing a long road to recovery from serious injuries and losses. While a truck accident attorney cannot erase your injuries or make them disappear, they can help you obtain the financial recovery that helps ease the stress of the accident.

Truck Driver Error in Head-on Collisions

The main cause of head-on truck collisions is driver error. Driver error can occur more frequently for truck drivers due to the time they spend driving on the road, the tight deadlines they have to reach their destinations, and they have to continue driving through dangerous conditions like fog or snow.

Distracted driving

Truck drivers are constantly at the wheel, so they might want to perform other actions while driving, leading to distracted driving. Making adjustments to clothing, checking their phone, adjusting their GPS, or eating while driving can be common ways that truck drivers become distracted, and it may cause them to veer off their intended path and into oncoming traffic, leading to a head-on collision. Due to their long hours on the road, truck drivers also tend to zone out while driving, which is another form of distracted driving.

Fatigued driving

Truck drivers also spend so many late hours driving that driver fatigue can be another common cause of driver error leading to these collisions. The deadlines they must meet and the lengths they must drive often push them to drive as long as possible under the law—or even longer than the law allows. Drivers might continue on the road even through exhaustion and sleep deprivation. This presents the serious risk of falling asleep behind the wheel, which can lead to a higher chance a truck will drift out of its lane and cause a head-on truck collision. Even nodding off for a second is enough to cause a devastating head-on crash.

Impaired driving

Another reason head-on truck collisions can occur is when the truck driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Truck drivers spend long hours driving on the road and often look to substances to help them relax when they are off the clock. This can have a lingering effect on their capacity to operate their vehicle when they are not completely sober before beginning driving again, which they tend to do quite early in the morning to meet deadlines. Intoxicated truck drivers, whether drinking on the shift or still inebriated from the night before, have a high frequency of causing these types of head-on truck crashes.

Traffic violations

Yet another reason trucks may cause a head-on collision is they may ignore the rules of the road in trying to get to their destination faster. This could mean speeding or making illegal lane changes, and they can put other drivers at risk when this behavior causes trucks to lose control and move out of their lane into oncoming traffic.

Driving too fast for conditions

Speeding in poor weather or road conditions is another common cause of head-on truck collisions. Rainy, snowy, or icy conditions may make it difficult to maneuver and control a truck, and an overly confident speeding truck driver might lose control and swerve out of their lane. Truck drivers are more likely to experience these issues in inclement weather than other drivers because of how large their truck is and its momentum when driving over a slick or slippery surface.

What to Do After a Head-On Truck Collision

Head-on truck collisions are incidents that have a high tendency to lead to serious injuries and fatalities. They are often serious crashes that have long-term effects and costs on the victims involved. Victims may have to live with traumatic brain injury (TBI), spinal cord injuries, amputations, or other catastrophic injuries, all of which can cause lifelong complications. The actions you take immediately after a head-on collision and in the weeks and months that follow can make it easier for you to protect your health and your finances after a crash. The first thing to do is immediately get the medical help you need for any injuries. This often requires calling 911 or having someone else do so. The treatment that follows might include:
  • Transportation to the emergency room
  • Emergency trauma care
  • Surgeries
  • Hospitalization
  • Rehabilitation services
  • Physical therapy
  • Home health care
  • Follow-up visits
Some injuries heal with time and treatment, while others might require ongoing medical care for years or the rest of your life. Always get all the treatment you need for the best possible prognosis for recovery. Once your health is stable enough, do not wait to contact a truck accident attorney to discuss your rights. When a truck driver causes a head-on collision, the driver and their employer are often liable for all of the injuries and losses that result. In some cases, other parties might have caused the accident, such as a tire manufacturer if a tire blowout led the driver to lose control. Having the right legal assistance from an experienced truck accident lawyer can help ensure that you receive full compensation for your medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and more.

Adam B. Lawler

Attorney at Law / Partner

Adam Lawler is the founder of Lawler Brown. Adam is a 2004 graduate of Saint Louis University School of Law. Adam worked for a local firm until founding the Lawler Brown in 2009. Adam’s practice areas focus in Personal Injury, Business, Real Estate, Probate/Trust/Estate Administration and general litigation.

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