Truck accidents can happen on any day at any time, and there are a variety of different types. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), in 2017 alone there were 4,455 fatal crashes involving trucks; not only that, but Texas is among the top 10 states in the nation with the most fatal large truck and bus accidents. With this in mind, it’s important to examine the most common types of truck accidents, as well as how they can be prevented.
Types of Truck Accidents
When a truck accident happens, it typically carries more consequences than a standard car accident. Only trained professionals should operate these large commercial vehicles since their sheer mass can cause massive damage to other vehicles on the road, as well as their passengers. As with all motor vehicle accidents, there are many different ways a crash can be caused, the most common of which include:
A blowout accident involving a large truck can be incredibly dangerous. Big rig blowouts occur when truck tires are underinflated, which can cause the sides of a tire to flex more, which generates heat and eventually leads to a blowout. These events happen unexpectedly and cause truck drivers to lose control of their vehicles. Losing control of a semi truck can cause it to swerve into another lane or oncoming traffic, rollover, or jackknife.
Truck rollovers are actually incredibly common due to the mass of these vehicles. Overweight cargo, speeding, sudden lane changes, poor weather conditions, and driver error are all potential causes of a rollover trucking accident; however, the most common types are tipped and un-tipped rollovers.
A tipped rollover happens when something outside of the truck causes the rollover to occur. On the other hand, an un-tipped rollover is typically caused by a poorly maneuvered turn. In the event the truck is top heavy or not weighted evenly, a rollover can easily happen.
An underride accident can happen when a passenger vehicle collides with the side or rear of a truck and becomes wedged underneath it. Because trucks are often much taller than passenger vehicles, they can easily be crushed, resulting in serious and even fatal injuries. Common causes of trucking rollovers include improper turns and lane changes, a car being in a truck’s blind spot, or if a truck driver fails to signal when changing lanes.
Jackknife accidents are caused by a commercial truck’s structure. Large 18-wheelers consist of a cab attached to a trailer. When these parts fold at the joint, it causes a jackknife – making the truck face in two different directions. Accidents like these leave the truck driver without control over the movement of the trailer, making it incredibly easy for a car to be swept under the trailer in a collision known as underride. Equipment malfunctions, locked wheels, brake failure, poor weather conditions, loose cargo, and debris in the road can all cause or contribute to a jackknife accident.
How To Prevent Truck Accidents
When a truck accident happens, it can be an unexpected nightmare for unsuspecting drivers and passengers nearby. Because big rig incidents are often deadly, it’s important to know how they can be prevented. Below please find our list of tips for how to prevent trucking accidents:
Avoid Distracted Driving
Truck drivers and passenger vehicle drivers should avoid driving distracted when behind the wheel. Smartphones, GPS systems, the radio, eating, and other passengers can all create distractions that can compromise a driver’s safety behind the wheel. When driving, it’s important to stay focused and alert to avoid a crash. These and other distractions can take the driver’s attention off the road, potentially leading to a collision.
Leave Room and Manage Speed
When driving, it’s important to leave plenty of room between your car and other vehicles, including large trucks. Leaving space between vehicles on the road allows for more time to adjust or come to a full stop in case an accident happens. Because of this, driver speed should also be adequately managed. Because trucks are so large, speeding propels the mass of a truck forward much more quickly than a passenger vehicle. It’s important for all drivers on the road to leave a good amount of room between their vehicle and those around them and to pay attention to how fast they are driving.
Houston, Texas Trucking Accident Attorneys
Unfortunately, trucking accidents can happen at any time on busy Texas roads and highway systems. Because these accidents can be so devastating and involve many different parties, it’s important to work with an experienced Houston truck accident attorney to hold the negligent parties accountable. At Ramsey Law Group, we have extensive experience helping clients get the maximum amount to which they are entitled after a trucking accident. We have the resources and skills to see a case through, no matter how long it lasts. If your or someone you know has been involved in an accident with a commercial truck, contact us today for a free consultation.