Close to 70 percent of consumer and commercial goods reach their destinations via large trucks and some estimates show that by the year 2030, truck accidents will be the fifth leading cause of death in this country. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) claims that more than 100,000 truck accidents occur each year, with about 5,000 fatalities. What are the most common types of truck accidents, and why do they happen?
Head-on and Rear-End Collisions
Head-on truck collisions can happen when a truck driver loses control of the vehicle, and it moves into oncoming traffic. Other reasons for head-on and rear-end collisions include driving while fatigued, driving under the influence, or being distracted by a cell phone. Another possibility is a truck defect, like brake failure.
When the accident impacts the other vehicle’s back end, the underlying reasons are similar. Tailgating can also cause rear-end crashes. Truckers must allow extra following space since their vehicles are so much larger and heavier than passenger cars, trucks, and SUVs, requiring extra time and distance to stop. Without the added distance, there might not be enough time to move out of the way or stop quickly enough to prevent a crash.
Rollover and Jackknife Crashes
Overloaded cargo, tire blowouts, and excessive speed can lead to rollover crashes. This is more commonly seen on curves when trucks can fall over to one side. The driver might not be injured but if there is another vehicle alongside, a rollover could be even more serious, or deadly.
Jackknife accidents happen when a semi-truck’s trailer and cab lose their straight formation. The cab keeps moving in the same direction, but the trailer swings toward it. The root cause of many jackknife accidents is improper braking. If a truck driver uses the engine brake by mistake or brakes too fast, it could throw the truck into a skid and a resulting jackknife. Nearby vehicles might be unable to avoid crashing into the truck, and this can set off a chain reaction with other ones.
Side-Impact and Sideswipe Accidents
Also known as “T-bone collisions,” side-impact truck accidents happen when the front part of a truck slams into the side of a vehicle. The sides of passenger vehicles have less protection than the front or rear, and being hit by the full weight of a truck from the side can be especially devastating. These crashes can occur when truck drivers ignore traffic signs and signals.
Sideswipes happen when the sides of two vehicles make contact. This can happen when a truck abruptly brakes or speeds up, causing it to veer out of its lane. Oversteering on curves can also cause sideswipe accidents.
Are There Other Kinds of Truck Accidents?
One of the most frightening kinds of truck accidents is an “override accident,” when a smaller vehicle gets pushed under a truck’s trailer in a crash. Since semi-trucks are so much higher than passenger vehicles, many (but not all) have rear underride protection guards. Underride accidents can be deadly, and this is another reason why it is so important to maintain extra-long following distances behind tractor-trailers.
Shifting or spilling cargo can also cause serious accidents. When a truck is not loaded properly the cargo can shift, making the driver lose control. If the cargo spills out of the truck, other drivers might not be able to react quickly enough to avoid a crash.
The Effingham County Truck Accident Lawyers at Kicklighter Law Seek Compensation for Injured Clients
Truck accidents are serious business. You can benefit from having trusted legal representation to protect your rights in a claim, settlement, or case. For a free consultation, contact Kicklighter Law. Our skilled Effingham County truck accident lawyers can explain your options and fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Call our Springfield, Georgia offices at 912-754-6003 or complete our online form today. We serve clients throughout Springfield, Effingham County, Savannah, and surrounding areas.