It takes a semi longer to stop than it does a car, especially if carrying a heavy load. As a result, a truck may rear-end the vehicle in front of it if it does not have enough room to apply the brakes and come to a stop.
This becomes especially dangerous when on the highway and traveling at a higher rate of speed. Rear-end accidents can lead to the truck jackknifing, when the trailer swings out to the left or right at a 90- degree angle.
Another type of accident is when the truck driver is unable to see a vehicle because of the truck’s blind spot. There are blind spots in both the front and back of the truck. This can lead to the truck driver improperly passing or turning in front of a vehicle, which could have devastating consequences.
Head-on collisions with a truck, as with any vehicle, may be among the most dangerous types of truck accidents. The outcome is even worse when either or both vehicles are traveling at a high rate of speed.
Underride truck accidents occur when a car slides underneath the truck. Although this generally happens at the back of a truck, a car may also slide underneath at the side. One of the dangers in this situation is that the roof of the car could be crushed or even ripped off.
Unlike an underride accident where the car slides underneath, an override accident is when the truck rides over the car. This could lead to a victim being pinned inside his or her vehicle.
Trucks that are overloaded or not properly secured run the risk of a rollover accident. This can become especially dangerous if the load being carried is hazardous, such as chemicals that could ignite a fire.
Tire blowouts may lead to an accident. These cause the truck driver to lose control, and any vehicle in its path is at risk of being struck.
In some cases, a truck accident can be the result of defective equipment, such as the brakes. If the trailer wasn’t properly inspected and there were repairs needed, it could lead to an accident as well. In cases like this, you may be able to file a claim against a manufacturer or an independent contractor who may be responsible.
In the following section, we will discuss four types of trucking accidents in greater detail.
Jackknife Trucking Accidents
A jackknife accident occurs when the trailer attached to the cab of the truck swings outward, then folds in on the cab to form a “V.” As it swings outward, it can strike another vehicle. There is also the potential for a vehicle (such as a motorcycle) to be caught in between the truck’s trailer and cab.
A jackknife accident can happen when the truck travels at a high speed and has to brake suddenly. As the truck skids, there is no control over the trailer, causing it to fold.
It also can occur when the truck loses traction because of wet conditions or heavy winds. Again, speed can be a significant factor. If going too fast and unable to brake safely, the truck might jackknife.
Taking a sharp curve too fast is another cause. When attempting to apply the brakes, the momentum can push the trailer outward. In a lot of cases, speed is a major factor in jackknife accidents.
Underride Trucking Accidents
This happens when a passenger vehicle strikes the back of a truck and slides either partially or completely underneath it. Although trucks are supposed to have underride guards to prevent this, sometimes they fail or are missing.
Even a vehicle traveling at a relatively low speed could slam into the back of a big rig and end up underneath. The faster someone travels, the greater the risk may be of sliding underneath and suffering serious injuries.
Injuries tend to occur to the upper part of the body and may cause decapitation. Whether it’s the head, face, neck or chest, the damage can be significant.
Override Trucking Accidents
Instead of a vehicle sliding underneath a truck, the semi actually rides over it in an override accident. This can happen when the truck has been traveling at a high speed and/or is following another vehicle too closely. Victims of this kind of accident can sustain crush injuries. Fractures, head trauma and dismemberment are examples.
Rollover Trucking Accidents
Rollovers sometimes occur after a truck has jackknifed, but there can be other causes. For instance, an improperly balanced or overloaded semi may have a greater chance of rolling over, especially when making a sharp turn or sudden stop. Instead of skidding, the center of gravity in the trailer may cause it to roll.
As is the case with many other types of truck accidents, speed can be a contributing factor in a rollover. Traveling too fast when taking a ramp or curve increases the risk of a rollover. It’s also a risk when driving during windy conditions.
Certain driver errors also increase the chance of a rollover. Trying to counter-steer can cause the truck driver to lose control. This can be a result of drifting off the road or into another lane and trying to overcorrect it. Fatigue and not paying attention can cause this to happen.