According to the 2014 Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts (LTBCF) annual report by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the number of large trucks involved in injury crashes rose by 21 percent. About 61 percent of those fatal crashes happened on rural roads, with only 26 percent coming from interstate highways. This indicates that just because a road has less cars or traffic, doesn’t mean you’ll be safe. Truck accidents can occur at anytime, to anyone.
Becoming aware of what can happen on the road, particularly when a truck is involved, could save your life.
In driving, anticipation is key. You don’t know what could go wrong, so you need to watch out for signs and have your senses in full alert. Aside from driver fatigue (which is a common cause of road accidents), other elements that contribute to accidents include popping a tire, strong winds, and ill-maintained equipment.
Here are five of the most common truck accidents today, and how to avoid them.
1. Truck Rollovers
Rollovers are caused by several factors, such as: improper loading, driver losing control of the vehicle, speeding, the weather, or a combination of these. This happens when the center of gravity shifts, and the truck is forced to roll to its side. If you are driving behind a semi or cargo truck, observe it closely for any signs of swaying. Maintain a good distance so you have time to stop, in case of emergency.
This is a term that refers to the position of large semi trucks or 18-wheelers when their trailers swing out to form a 90-degree angle. This is highly dangerous as it can also lead to a rollover. This usually happens when roads become slippery, if the truck attempts to turn too quickly, or when a driver tries to swerve to avoid other vehicles. When driving with trucks on the road, always maintain a safe distance of at least two cars apart.
3. Tire Blowout
Commercial trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, depending on the load. This puts a lot of pressure on their tires. When tires do blow out, they spread dangerous debris all over the highway. The sudden incident can make the driver lose control of the truck, and make it crash with other vehicles. The tire shreds can also be a hazard as it can cause cars to slam on their brakes or affect their steering.
When driving with a truck, stay alert and stick to the speed limit. In case of tire blowouts, slow down and watch out for debris.
4. Lost Load
Truck accidents caused by lost load can be fatal. Sometimes, cargo is not properly secured or distributed in the trailer. This can make the articles shift and fall off when the truck makes sudden turns. There are also cases when cargo (such as gravel or sand) that became loose could smash windshields of other cars. Keep your eyes on the cargo when driving with a loaded truck on the road. Avoid tailgating at all costs.
5. Wide Turn
This happens when trucks try to make tight turns and end up squeezing cars between them and the sidewalk. Also known as “swinging turn” or “squeeze play” crashes, this type of truck accident is one of the most fatal, because it also leaves vehicles on the other side of the lane vulnerable to side impact collisions.
To avoid wide turn crashes, pay attention when you see trucks going on the left side of the road. This is usually in preparation before they turn right. Once the semi takes its turn, you could get squeezed if you attempt to drive forward. Slow down and look at the turn signal lights instead.
Were You Involved In a Truck Accident?
If you or your loved one has been in a truck accident, don’t hesitate to contact a truck accident attorney immediately. Truck accident cases are often complicated; so you will need someone with enough skills and experience to guide you through the legal procedures.
Ledger Law at Truck-Accident-Help.com will make sure you receive proper assistance for your unique situation. Let our expert investigators get to the bottom of the incident and collect all necessary evidence. Together, we can get the best possible outcome.