Nothing is more potentially dangerous on the highway or freeway than a fully loaded tractor-trailer. They move fast, carry a lot of weight, and in the event of a crash, can impact many passenger cars.
The cost of treating any kind of injury can be high after a car accident. They can be even higher when in an accident with a semi-truck.
Head-on and rear-end collisions commonly happen with any kind of vehicle. But semi-trucks are especially prone to certain types of accidents. The following takes a closer look at some of the most commonly occurring types of trucking accidents.
A tractor-trailer is long, and has no rear window. They just have side mirrors that help to see behind the trailers that the truckers are hauling. That leaves a potentially very large blind spot on either side of the rig.
If you are driving slowly alongside a tractor-trailer, you might be driving in its blind spot. That could be very dangerous. If the driver tries to change lanes or exit, you could be on the receiving end of a blind-spot collision.
Many newer tractor-trailers have video cameras and blind-spot monitoring systems that help to reduce the potential for such collisions. But it helps greatly for you and other drivers to stay out of blind spots and pass quickly when you are overtaking a tractor-trailer.
A tractor-trailer has a high center of gravity. When it hauls heavy loads, that center of gravity can rise even higher. A heavily-laden trailer might tip over due to a high crosswind, the driver might lose control due to mechanical failure, or another mishap causes the semi to roll.
Rollover accidents are among the more common ways in which semi-trucks have accidents. A rollover with a fully-loaded trailer could be especially dangerous and always potentially deadly. If the load is a dangerous one, such as flammable liquids, an accident could trigger a true catastrophe.
It always helps for you to give a trucker extra room when weather or road conditions are more challenging. High winds are especially dangerous for semi-trucks and any motorists who are driving too closely.
An underride collision happens when another vehicle collides with the back of a tractor-trailer. The tall stature of trailers often places their bottom at or above the shoulder height of car passengers. If you drive into the rear end of a tractor-trailer, the trailer could ride over your engine compartment.
Because a passenger car has a relatively low center of gravity, it could drive beneath a trailer and transfer most of the energy to the upper section of the passenger compartment. That could be especially deadly for you and any of your passengers.
A trailer has a single connection point upon which it pivots when connected to a semi. That pivot point could cause the trailer to fold over onto the semi, like a jackknife folding closed.
A jack-knife accident generally happens when the semi is trying to slow down or stop but loses control of the trailer. The trailer is traveling at a higher rate of speed and closes in upon the cab.
A jack-knife is a very dangerous accident that could happen on icy or wet roads. It also might occur if the brakes fail on the trailer. And if a collision brings the cabin to a sudden halt, the trailer could fold over suddenly.
When a jack-knife accident happens, your vehicle might get caught in it. The trailer could sweep across a multilane highway and strike several vehicles. The faster that you and the truck are traveling, the greater the potential for suffering serious injuries and significant damage to your vehicle.
Sudden Tire Failure
Tire blowouts are common on tractor-trailers. That is because many of the tires used on trailers are old and subject to repeated recapping. Retreads are allowed on big rigs and used frequently. And retreads can be dangerous.
Tread separation is a serious issue with retreads or manufacturer tires that suffer road damage. If the tread separates, it could shoot out from under the tire. It also might cause a blowout that causes the driver of the semi to lose control.
You likely have seen large sections of truck tires lying in a traffic lane or along the shoulder of a highway. Those large chunks of the tire could become deadly projectiles if they are launched from a tire at highway speeds.
You may have heard a repetitive thumping sound coming from a semi-truck on the highway. If you do, you should get away from it as soon as possible. That is the sound of a tire that could fail suddenly and at any moment.
Some trailer loads are not secured properly. When that happens, some of that load might fall off the back of a commercial truck. That could create a very dangerous situation and cause you to get into an accident.
Truck drivers do not necessarily load their trucks, but they are responsible for checking their cargo and the truck. If they find anything wrong, they need to fix the problem or find someone who can.
A poorly secured load is the driver’s responsibility because it affects safety on the road. Even if the truck does not have part of the load fall off of the trailer, it could shift suddenly and cause a rollover.
Semi-trucks require more room to turn than your car does. That means the truck will need to swing along a wide arc to make 90-degree turns. But many motorists do not give big rigs the room needed to complete wide turns.
Wide-turn collisions often happen when a trucker is in the middle of a turn and a motorist suddenly gets in the way. Even a pedestrian or bicyclist might suddenly get in the way if the truck is turning.
The only good thing about a wide-turn collision is that it often is at relatively slow speeds. That could limit the potential for injuries. But it still could demolish your vehicle and endanger your life.
Why Truck Accidents Are So Dangerous?
A semi-truck that is carrying a full load could weigh up to 80,000 pounds. But a passenger car weighs closer to 4,000 pounds. Physics affirms that a car-semi collision usually results in far more damage to the passenger car. And that could be deadly for a car’s passengers.
With up to 20 times the weight of a typical commuter car, a semi has a much longer stopping distance than a private passenger vehicle. But many drivers do not consider the additional weight and longer stopping distance that a truck needs. They pull into a space in front of the big rigs and create a dangerous situation.
Semi-trucks are much taller than most passenger cars, with have higher centers of gravity. The combination of much greater weight and higher centers of gravity makes commercial trucks very dangerous for private passenger vehicles. A head-on or rear-end collision with a commercial truck could be very deadly.
Many Potentially Liable Parties
An accident with a tractor-trailer or another type of commercial truck might not always be the fault of the driver. The driver is responsible for driving safely and checking the truck and trailer before taking it on the road. But other parties might be at least partly liable for any harm.
Manufacturer defects, faulty maintenance or repairs, or leased trucks or trailers might affect accident claims. For example, the driver might work for a company that leased the truck from another company.
The maintenance and any repairs might have been done by yet another party. And yet another party might have improperly loaded the trailer.
The potential for multiple defendants could complicate claims arising from a trucking accident. Experienced truck accident lawyers can help to determine liable parties and build strong cases against each of them.
Passaic Truck Accident Lawyers at Ellis Law, P.C., Helps Truck Accident Survivors
If you recently survived an accident and need to hold the liable parties accountable, the experienced Passaic truck accident lawyers at Ellis Law, P.C., can help. You can call 732-308-0200 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation at our law office in Freehold, New Jersey. We rep[resent clients in Freehold, East Brunswick, Toms River, Middletown, Jersey City, Neptune, Hudson County, Union County, Essex County, and Ocean County, as well as Brooklyn and New York, New York.