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Types of Truck Accidents and How to Avoid Them

Dec 05, 2022

Truck accidents often lead to catastrophic injuries and even deaths, and a 2020 report by the National Safety Council showed that 71% of the people who died in truck accidents were passengers in the other vehicle.

While truck accidents happen in different forms, you can take some steps to avoid being a victim.

Types of Truck Accidents and How to Avoid Them

What Are the Common Types of Truck Accidents?

The following are the most common types of large truck accidents.

Truck Rollovers

Truck rollovers occur when trucks overturn, landing on their side or on their roof. Large trucks are prone to rollovers more than passenger vehicles because their height elevates their center of gravity.

A report from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) showed that truck rollovers were the main event in 4% of all fatal truck accidents.

Here are some causes of truck rollovers:

  • Driver error: Driver error is one of the leading causes of rollover accidents. Many truck rollovers happen because the driver is not fully alert while driving. A drowsy or distracted driver may run off the road, drift onto a soft shoulder, miscalculate while turning at an intersection or a curve, or ride up or down a curb. 
  • Poor truck maintenance: A poorly maintained truck may develop faults that make it unfit for the road. Tire failures can lead to a loss of control, swerving, or a rollover. If the brakes are weak, slowing down in traffic and intersections may be tough. This may force a commercial driver to swerve to avoid a collision.
  • Poorly loaded cargo: Improper cargo loading can cause cargo shifts. Another common factor contributing to rollovers is the “slosh and surge” effect, which may happen when a truck has a partial liquid load.

Rear-End Collisions

Rear-end collisions between vehicles are bad enough, but they’re more disastrous when a truck is involved. Because of a typical truck’s weight, it is more likely to cause severe damage when it rear-ends a smaller passenger vehicle. Trucks are also more likely to push the vehicle they collide with into a third vehicle, thereby causing muti-collisions, especially when the crash occurs on a rural road or highway.

Distracted driving is a common cause of rear-end collisions. Truckers can be distracted by their cell phones, navigation devices, or radios. Despite federal regulations mandating that truck drivers do not use handheld devices, many truckers continue to flout the rules. 

A distracted trucker may miss early signs indicating that they need to stop. And because big-rig trucks need more time to stop, a rear-end collision may be an unavoidable consequence. 

T-Bone Accidents

T-bone accidents happen when a truck crashes into the side of another vehicle. This type of accident can be catastrophic for occupants of the other vehicle, especially those on the side of the impact. T-bone accidents are common at intersections, and they are often caused by driver negligence. 

Most T-bone accidents are avoidable and usually caused by the following:

  • Not yielding the right of way
  • Running a red light
  • Failing to gauge the traffic flow appropriately
  • Driving recklessly
  • Excessively speeding
  • Running a stop sign

Tire Blowouts

Tire blowouts are dangerous to truckers and other users of the road, especially if the truck is speeding. A tire blowout can cause the truck driver to lose control, which may cause the truck to swerve violently or rollover. 

Most truck tire blowouts happen as explosions. And because truck tires are larger than the tires of passenger vehicles, parts of a blown-out tire can damage other nearby vehicles.

A truck tire can explode for several reasons, including:

  • Defects
  • Improper inflation
  • Cargo overload
  • Leaks
  • Excess wear and tear
  • Punctures
  • Mechanical issues (e.g., bent axles)

Underride Accidents

Underride truck accidents are one of the deadliest types of truck accidents. Most trucks are high off the ground, so if a high-impact collision occurs, a smaller car can slide under the truck. When this happens, the top of the vehicle may be cut open, and in the worst cases, the vehicle may get crushed, which can severely injure or kill the occupants. 

Federal regulations mandate some trucks in the U.S. to have rear guards, but side and front guards are not compulsory. Some rear guards are not even effective at preventing vehicles from going under.

How to Avoid Common Truck Accidents

Most truck accidents, unfortunately, are caused by foreseeable and preventable events. Here are the things you can do to avoid them.

Beware of Inclement Weather Conditions

Watch out for road hazards that make driving riskier than normal, such as snow, ice, and fog. Be extra vigilant and keep a safe distance from large trucks as much as possible.

Watch for Poor Road Conditions

Poor road conditions, such as slippery roads or poorly lit roads, increase the chances of a truck crash. If you can stay away from trucks on bad roads, do so.

Follow the Speed Limit

Speeding contributes to underride accidents, which is one of the major types of truck accidents. Follow the speed limit, especially when you are around a truck.

Be Aware of Truck Brake Failure Possibilities

Note that a truck may have faulty brakes, and put that into consideration, especially when you’re at an intersection and a truck is close to you, or when you want to overtake a truck. Always plan to have some distance between your vehicle and the truck.

Watch for Patterns in the Flow of Traffic

Stay alert to see the traffic flow and know when to yield the right of way. Allow the truck to pass if you think it may do so.

Find a Truck Accident Attorney That Can Help You When You're in Need

Truck accidents can be disastrous and cause life-altering injuries. If you or a family member has been injured in a truck accident, a truck accident lawyer can help you. 

The truck accident lawyers at The Spence Law Firm have helped many truck accident victims recover compensation from insurance companies. Contact us to see how we can help you get the justice you deserve.

Schedule a free consultation with The Spence Law Firm, LLC

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If you are struggling with a serious injury, or are fighting against seemingly impossible odds against big corporations, insurance companies or the government, call us to speak with our team of trial lawyers who will fight for you. We take no fee unless we earn it by winning your case.