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What Are Underride Truck Accidents?

Posted on: December 4, 2023

Few accidents are more devastating and destructive than underride truck accidents. As the name suggests, this type of accident occurs when a passenger vehicle, like a car, van, or SUV, slides under the trailer of a large commercial truck in a collision. If the occupants of the passenger vehicle were fortunate enough to survive an underride accident, they would likely have suffered catastrophic injuries. In most cases, underride truck accidents are caused by driver negligence, which means they could have been prevented if the truck driver prioritized safety and avoided negligent driving behavior.

There are two types of underride truck accidents, both of which often result in devastating injuries and tragic fatalities, mainly if it causes the top of the vehicle to be completely sheared off. They include the following:

  • Side underride collisions: This can happen when a truck driver turns, crosses a street, or makes a U-turn. If it is dark, or there are other visibility issues, and an oncoming motorist does not see the truck in its path, a passenger vehicle can crash into the side of a truck and slide underneath it.
  • Rear underride collisions: This occurs when a motorist crashes into the rear of the truck head-on, causing it to become wedged between the road and the trailer.

What Are the Most Common Causes of Underride Truck Accidents?

Some of the most common causes of underride truck accidents are due to negligence, including distracted driving, drowsy driving, and maintenance issues. For example, if a truck driver is distracted by a phone call or a text message and has to slam on the brakes to avoid hitting another vehicle, a passenger vehicle following the truck could hit the trailer from behind. Drowsy driving or impaired driving can also affect a truck driver’s ability to maintain control of the truck and make the necessary driving adjustments based on weather and road conditions.

Another common cause of underride accidents is missing or defective guardrails. Older guardrails may no longer be as effective as they once were. In addition, there are currently no federally mandated requirements for trucks to install side guards, even though they could prevent catastrophic side underride accidents.

How Can I Avoid an Underride Truck Accident?

The following tips can help you avoid an underride truck accident:

  • Use caution when passing a truck. Due to their massive size, commercial trucks have substantial blind spots, particularly on the right-hand side of the truck. When passing a truck, always pass on the last-hand side and try to ensure the truck driver sees you in their rearview mirror.
  • Trucks need more space. A large commercial truck requires much road space when making a turn. Never try to sneak past a truck when it is about to turn or is already turning, as this increases the risk of a side-underride accident.
  • Trucks need road space to slow down. A large truck requires significantly more road space to slow down and come to a complete stop than a regular passenger vehicle. Be aware of the distance between you and the truck behind you. Make sure that you use your turn signal earlier than usual to alert the truck driver that you will be slowing down and making a turn.

Red Bank Truck Accident Lawyers at Ellis Law Represent Victims of Underride Truck Accidents

If you or a loved one suffered a catastrophic injury in an underride truck accident, do not hesitate to contact our Red Bank truck accident lawyers at Ellis Law. Call us today at 732-308-0200 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Located in Freehold, New Jersey, we serve clients in Asbury Park, East Brunswick, Toms River, Middletown, Jersey City, Long Branch, Neptune, Hudson County, Union County, Essex County, Monmouth County, Marlboro, and Ocean County, as well as Brooklyn and New York City.

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