One of the most common causes of truck accidents is equipment failure. One minute, you’re quietly sharing the road with a semi; next thing you know, it seems to have lost control of the brakes and you’re about to get hit. When it comes to such cases of truck accidents, they’re quick and fatal. Blink and you might miss it.
Vehicles involved in these incidents are lucky to sustain only minor injuries. As equipment failure is often undetectable even to truck drivers, you would really be caught unaware.
Knowing what to watch out for, no matter how small, could help save your life. Learn the basics of equipment failure in big rigs and how to stay safe from them.
What Makes Equipment Failure So Dangerous
One of the biggest dangers is that, when one – or more – of the truck’s mechanisms fails, several motorists are put in danger. For instance: an 18-wheeler truck with failed brakes can careen out of control and collide with a few vehicles along the road. Even if the driver tries to steer it to safety, due to its massive size, it’s bound to hit cars or passersby.
But threat begins even before a truck can hit the road.
Some manufacturing defects for example, can be left undetected during a routine inspection. Perhaps the biggest hazard is when trucking companies fail to do it. Even if the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires proper regular inspection and maintenance, there are trucking companies that send out unsafe trucks on the road.
Aside from failed brakes, other types of equipment failure include:
- Defective steering device
- Burned out head/tail lights
- Tire blowouts or separated treads
- Failed suspension
- Transmission or engine failure
- Improper trailer attachment
In a truck accident case, it can be complex trying to prove that it was equipment failure that caused the collision. There are other factors that could have contributed to the incident. There’s driver error, bad weather conditions, and the possible liability of the manufacturer(s).
For Your Safety
Keep these two main points in mind everyday, especially when driving with big rigs:
Practice defensive driving. According to the National Safety Council’s Defensive Driving Course, defensive driving is “driving to save lives, time, and money, in spite of the conditions around you and the actions of others”. This means NEVER assuming that other drivers, such as those of big rigs, are just as alert and sober as you are.
For example: if a semi truck is preparing to turn right and you’re following behind, don’t assume that nothing will go wrong. The truck might turn over, lose control, or slam into other vehicles. If you don’t practice defensive driving, you’ll be caught off guard when drivers don’t do what you expect.
Always carry an emergency kit. Whenever possible, be prepared by taking the right precautions for your own safety. An emergency kit for your car should have the following:
- First aid kit
- Tool kit (screwdriver, pliers, jumper cables, hex keys, etc.)
- AAA or roadside emergency card
- tire inflator
- flashlight with fresh batteries
These are just a few of what you should always have inside your car. Other useful equipment to have is dash cams, to record any incident that might happen while on the road. If you can afford it, a fire extinguisher is also a sound investment.
Truck accidents involving equipment failure can be tricky. That’s because you would need a team of experts to prove that a) the equipment really was defective or malfunctioned during the time of the incident; and b) establish liability. Here’s where the services of a trusted trucking accident lawyer would be necessary.
Choose someone with years of experience and dozens of cases won. Make sure he or she also has the best team to help you uncover the truth. If you or someone you know has been involved in a truck accident and you suspect that equipment failure is to blame, call an expert today.