Everywhere you travel, you see trucks hauling commodities. Whether it’s groceries, large equipment or even a house, we depend on truckers to bring us the things we need to live. Trucks are common on highways and secondary roads alike, though it is less common to see them on rural roads. No matter what type of roadway you are on, you could be involved in a truck accident. Being injured or losing a loved one in a truck accident affects you emotionally and financially. Contact an experienced truck accident lawyer at Abels and Annes to learn more about your rights.
Eight Common Truck Accidents
Any of the above conditions and behaviors could cause truck accidents. Types of truck accidents include:
- Tire blowouts can happen to anyone at any time, but they are more common in big rigs because the trucks use recaps and haul heavy loads.
- A jackknife is when the cab turns so sharp that is is more than a 90-degree angle to the trailer. Jackknifing a truck could happen if a trucker has to hit the brakes hard, which causes the trailer to slide sideways and come forward or if the trucker loses control on slick roads.
- Rollovers happen if a truck takes a curve too fast or if the wind on a highway through open fields is strong enough to tip the truck over. A rollover because of wind is more common on highways in areas that have no trees.
- Wide turn accidents happen when a trucker has to make a wide turn and traffic or pedestrians are in the trucker’s blind spot. As a passenger vehicle driver, you should never pull up on a truck’s right side if the driver is signaling a right turn.
- Rear-ending a truck could cause severe injury or even death. In many cases, a passenger vehicle is much lower than the big rig and could go right under it.
- A truck has significant blind spots, including in front of it. If a truck driver can’t see you, it’s difficult for him to try to avoid an accident.
- Load accidents happen when a trucker’s load falls off. A driver usually loses a load on a flatbed trailer, though it could happen if the rear doors open on a box trailer. If the driver does not strap the cargo down properly or the strap or chain breaks, the load could slide off the trailer. A heavy load causes extensive damage to vehicles on the sides of the truck and behind the big rig when it falls off.
- Head-on collisions and T-bone collisions may also happen when the truck driver or a passenger car is passing another vehicle on a secondary road or if either runs a light or stop sign. Both of these accidents can cause catastrophic injuries or even death due to the size of the truck.
How Common Are They?
In 2017, Illinois had 11,658,429 registered vehicles and 9,164,821 registered drivers. Residents traveled 108,162,096,329 miles during the year. With all of the miles driven by the 9.1 million registered drivers, there were 311,679 accidents. Of those, 93,517 injuries and 1,090 deaths were recorded, and 11,732 of the accidents involved semi-trucks. Those trucking accidents comprised of 1,949 injury wrecks and 107 fatal crashes.
Seven Causes of Truck Accidents
Before we look at types of truck accidents, we must look at the causes of truck accidents. Lawyers focus on the causes of a crash because they give clues to who may have legal liability for the damage the accident inflicts. In some cases, the truck driver may not be at fault. Another vehicle, inclement weather, or even something on the road could cause the accident. In other cases, the truck driver or something the company or dispatcher did may be at fault. The company may overload the truck or may not complete maintenance. The dispatcher may encourage the driver to deliver the load by a specific time, “no matter what,” which tells the truck driver to speed or ignore hours of service rules.
- Improper or inadequate training: It takes skills to handle a big rig. Fully loaded trailers are harder to control—curvy and hilly roads, such as those you might find in the mountains present challenges to even a more experienced driver. If a driver is not adequately trained or does not have the experience to drive solo, you are at risk of being in an accident if you encounter such a driver.
- Poor truck maintenance: Drivers are supposed to check the trucks before they leave the yard. If a driver does not notice that the truck is not maintained correctly, those maintenance issues could cause an accident. For example, bad tires and brakes, lights that are not working correctly or even load straps that come undone could cause an accident. The driver, trucking company and/or truck owner could all be held liable for poor maintenance.
- Severe weather, road construction, and poor road conditions: Any of these could cause an accident. Severe weather limits visibility or makes the roads slippery. Poor road conditions such as roads that are not properly maintained or roads with snow and ice buildup could cause the truck driver to lose control. Driving inches away from a road construction barrier could also cause an accident if the driver makes one wrong move.
- If a driver is not familiar with the road, especially if the road is curvy or narrow, the chance of a truck accident is higher.
- If the truck is overloaded, tires could blowout, or the tractor and trailer could overturn, especially on sharp curves, such as those on highway exits.
- Other passenger vehicle drivers could cause accidents. Merging into a truck or too close in front of a big rig, or even hanging in a truck’s blind spot could cause smaller vehicles to bounce into other cars. Cars that try to sneak by a truck to turn first on city streets may also cause an accident. Trucks making a right turn cannot see passenger vehicle trying to pass them on the right.
- Negligent driving: Several types of errors fall under this category including speeding, careless driving, aggressive driving, a distracted driver, a tired driver, tailgating and a driver not obeying the rules of the road.
For more information, contact a truck accident attorney as soon as possible if you are injured in a truck accident.