Commercial trucks are a crucial part of America’s economy. Unfortunately, these large and heavy vehicles are dangerous and put other drivers at risk of serious accidents. The shape, size and design of a big rig create unique crash risks, such as large blind spots and wide turns. Large trucks also crash in unique ways compared to standard passenger cars. In many cases, the type of trucking accident can point to the cause of the wreck and determine liability.
Commercial trucks are much taller than most passenger cars. The trailer of a truck is often tall enough to allow a smaller car to slide underneath it. If this happens in a collision between a truck and a car, it is called an underride accident. This can occur if a car rear-ends a large truck, for instance, or if the car slides beneath the side of a trailer in an intersection, side-impact or T-bone collision. Underride accidents can be deadly for the passengers inside of the smaller car, as the trailer of the truck can go through the windshield and cause severe head injuries or decapitations.
If a rear-end collision involving a large truck is reversed, with the large truck colliding with the rear of a smaller vehicle, it can cause an override accident. This is when a commercial truck rolls up and over a smaller car, often crushing the car and its occupants beneath the truck’s tires. Override accidents can often be prevented if a truck driver pays attention to the road and leaves adequate following distance.
A jackknife truck accident is when the trailer of an 18-wheeler swings out and away from the cab at an acute angle or jackknife formation. When this occurs, the truck driver loses all control over the truck, which may continue to skid and hit other vehicles or roll over. Jackknife accidents are often preventable with the correct braking techniques, as well as if a truck driver travels downhill and around corners at a safe speed.
Despite having 18 tires, a big rig can crash if just one of them blows out. A tire blowout is a sudden and unexpected explosion of the tire, rather than a slow leak or loss in tire pressure. A truck with a blown-out tire can be difficult for the truck driver to safely control, resulting in the truck striking other vehicles or rolling over. Tire blowouts can be caused by defective tires or worn-out tires in need of replacement.
A commercial truck could roll over in many circumstances. It does not take much to imbalance a tractor-trailer and turn it on its side – especially if the truck driver jerks the wheel, drives erratically or jackknifes the truck. Other common causes of truck rollovers are tire blowouts and an imbalanced truck due to uneven cargo loading.
Large trucks have long trailers that create major blind spots for the truck driver. These blind spots are referred to as the “No Zone,” or areas that vehicle drivers should avoid. The No Zone extends approximately one lane to the truck’s left, two lanes to the truck’s right, 25 feet to the front and 200 feet to the back. Avoiding the No Zone can reduce the risk of accidents. However, if a truck driver does not make a lane change carefully or correctly, the truck could collide with a car that is in a blind spot.
If you or a loved one gets injured in a truck accident, the trucking company and an insurance provider will send investigators to the scene to determine fault. They can use the type of truck accident to understand how and why the crash occurred, as well as who is responsible. If the trucking company or truck driver caused your crash, you can file a claim against the company for financial compensation for your losses. Discuss your case with a truck accident attorney in Stratford for more information.