The Different Types and Causes of Truck Accidents
Truck accidents, while not as frequent as automobile accidents, can be the most devastating type of accident when it comes to fatalities and serious injuries. According to the South Carolina Department of Public Safety, 83.3% of collisions in South Carolina involve transport vehicles. In addition to this, 6,474 transport vehicles and 4,697 commercial trucks were involved in crashes in 2020. No one accident occurs the same way, but there are common causes and types of truck accidents. Here’s what you need to know about them if you are ever involved in one:
When two vehicles collide head-on it typically happens at high speeds. Any high-speed crashes often lead to serious injuries, but the harm only increases when a commercial truck becomes involved. Most head-on collisions involve a vehicle heading straight and another vehicle making a turn or swerving into the path of the first. Driving under the influence, speeding, and distracted driving are the most common culprits of these truck accidents.
Semi-trucks and other commercial vehicles are extremely heavy. This means that even if a truck is traveling within the legal speed limits on the highway, it will take longer for it to come to a stop compared to standard vehicles, no matter how quickly they try to brake. If speeding occurs, then the likelihood of a collision only increases.
A distracted or tired driver is also a danger as they don’t have time to react in the first place. Combined with the truck’s weight, this often leads to severe accidents. Fatigue driving is common due to the long hours truck drivers work to make deliveries.
While a truck driver dosing off might still have time to slam on the brakes when they become aware of a hazard, drunk drivers lose this capability, and these accidents often occur without reduced impact from braking.
These accidents are commonly associated with slight fender benders between two cars that cause more of an annoyance than actual injuries. However, rear-end collisions that involve commercial trucks are far more serious. Due to the weight and size difference between a commercial truck and a normal automobile, even at lower speeds, serious injuries can occur. The added component of speeding will then result in often fatal accidents.
With a higher center of gravity, it is much easier for trucks to turn on their side, causing a rollover accident. A truck’s balance can be thrown off by several factors like taking a sharp turn, speeding, or a malfunction caused by improperly loaded cargo leading to a flipped truck.
Tire blowouts are another possible cause. According to a causation study done by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, tire blowouts were the most common cause of truck rollovers in 18-wheelers. Anything from unchecked tire pressure to a misdiagnosed problem from a mechanic can lead to a tire blowout. Although dangerous to anyone who could be in the path of a rollover, the truck driver can suffer severe injuries like brain or spinal cord injuries from being thrown around as the truck flips over.
The front part of a truck where a driver sits is called the cab. When the trailer part of the truck comes out from behind the cab, it causes what is known as a jackknife accident. Due to the 90-degree angle this accident type creates, it resembles a jackknife. Taking a turn too fast or breaking too suddenly can factor into a jackknife accident. When this occurs, the trailer of the truck can swing into oncoming traffic, causing a serious pile-up of cars.
Trucks also have a device called a hitch which keeps the trailer and cab attached and allows it to carry heavy loads. If there is any defect in this locking mechanism, it can cause a jackknife accident. Even if the hitch is secured properly, over time, with many excessive loads, the hitch can break from deterioration, causing the trailer to come apart from the cab.
When a vehicle crashes into the side of another vehicle, it causes what’s called a t-bone or side-impact accident. Commercial trucks involved in these accidents with smaller vehicles or even motorcycles can lead to fatal injuries like internal bleeding or brain and spinal injuries.
The most common occurrence for these types of accidents happens when a driver runs a red light or at intersections. Typically, a vehicle that has the right of way is hit by another driver who fails to yield and crashes directly into the side of the first vehicle.
The one thing that all of these types of truck accidents have in common is that they are extremely dangerous and can end in fatal injuries. If you were involved in a truck accident that wasn’t your fault, speaking with an experienced lawyer about your case can ensure you are compensated for your injuries, including lost wages and pain and suffering. The right attorney will file a personal injury claim against the at-fault party and help you get the settlement you deserve.