Although you may be aware of how dangerous a car accident can be, do you know that truck accidents can be even worse? Due to a truck’s size, weight, and momentum, it can cause damage well exceeds that of a typical car crash. Depending on the type of accident the truck is involved in, you and your family can sustain injuries varying from cuts and bruises, to broken bones, and even to death.
This is why it is important to not only know your risks when it comes to truck accidents, but also to learn how trucks can react during collisions and intensify the damage.
The Many Faces of a Truck Accident
In addition to having the potential to cause more damage and injury than regular car accidents, trucks actually have a higher chance of causing seven specific (and potentially cataclysmic) accidents. These types of accidents are far more common for trucks due to their size, shape, and weight—which also makes them more dangerous as well.
Rear-End, T-Bone, and Head-On Collisions
These types of accidents are most common when a truck attempts to maneuver through an intersection. The length of the truck bed or trailer can cause drivers to misjudge the time it takes to get through, miscalculate their stops, and wreak havoc while turning. Rear-end collisions also frequently occur on highways, as cars sometimes follow a truck too closely and misjudge the stopping force of the truck ahead of them.
Malfunctioning Air Brakes
Trucks have air brakes in order to help slow them down when going downhill. However, when these brakes malfunction, the trailer has no way to slow itself down. Therefore, the force of the trailer pushes the cab down the hill, and the entire truck becomes unstable.
Although semi-trucks have a lot of tires to maintain their weight (that’s why they’re also called 18-wheelers), when a tire fails while in use, the force of the air within that tire causes a catastrophic rupture of the whole tire (hence the term blowout). This explosion can cause the entire truck to become unstable while also making it extremely difficult for the driver to regain control. Once the weight of a truck is thrown off by a flat tire, any kind of overcorrecting or instability causes the entire truck to become dangerously uncontrollable.
Cargo and Lost-Load Collisions
These accidents occur when cargo isn’t properly secured. When it isn’t strapped down or the trailer door isn’t properly closed and locked, cargo can bounce around and fall out of the back of the truck. Although this may seem silly, that cargo could potentially scatter debris on the road, fall right in your path—or, worst of all, fall directly on your vehicle.
These are among the most common truck accident types; they occur when a truck’s tires fail to grip the road. Remember, a truck is inherently unstable because it’s taller than it is wide. Any force to the side may cause the trailer to lose balance and topple over onto its side. Any cars in the truck’s path are likely to be crushed.
Since trailers aren’t rigidly attached to the trucks’ cabs, the space between the two can cause problems during a collision. When a truck driver brakes suddenly, the cab will brake first, while the trailer will continue going forward. The trailer will crash into the cab and swing sideways, essentially creating an acute angle with the cab until the momentum and force fade away.
Underride collisions occur when a car smashes into the side or back of a truck and the force causes it to become lodged underneath the trailer. These accidents are usually fatal, as they tend to shear off the top half of the smaller vehicle and the trailer crushes anything in its way. Decapitations are common.
Use This Information on the Road
The next time you’re forced to drive near a truck, remember that you should take extra precautions and play it safe. Steer clear of trucks that seem to be in trouble. Otherwise, you may wind up putting your family in jeopardy.