Seeing a truck on its side inspires a sense of disquiet. What could cause such an enormous vehicle, loaded with cargo, to tip over? What would happen if your car was in the lane next to the truck when the accident happened?
Accidents involving truck rollovers can cause serious injuries to other drivers and their passengers, and when that happens, you need a truck accident lawyer. A truck’s large mass—in the United States, a truck, trailer, and cargo can have a combined weight of up to 80,000 pounds—can inflict extreme damage on smaller vehicles, and severe injuries on their drivers and passengers, resulting in mountains of bills. If you are currently struggling after a serious truck accident speak with a truck accident attorney to discuss your compensation. Speak with Benson & Bingham today.
What Causes Truck Rollover Accidents?
Truck rollover accidents happen when a truck’s wheels leave the pavement and the body of the truck rolls on its side. Trucks, including big trucks, have a higher center of gravity than passenger vehicles. As a result, rollovers are a considered a common cause of truck accidents. Several factors can contribute to a truck rollover:
- High rates of speed. At a high rate of speed, any vehicle has an increased chance of a rollover accident—and big trucks even more so. In fact, high rates of speed cause or contribute to the majority of fatal rollover accidents in passenger vehicles. At a high rate of speed, truck drivers may struggle to correct the vehicle’s position, increasing the risk of an accident if the wheels slip off the pavement or as the truck navigates a sharp curve.
- Over-steering. When a truck makes a sharp course correction, the truck’s wheels can leave the road, causing the truck to rock dangerously. On a sharp incline, or even in some cases on even ground, the truck may tip over on its side.
- High winds. Most of the time, a truck’s heavy weight helps protect it against the effects of winds. The large surface area of a truck trailer, however, makes it susceptible to rollovers in high crosswinds, particularly when not loaded with cargo.
- Improperly loaded cargo. The cargo of a tractor trailer can weigh 40,000 lbs or more. That much weight makes properly loading cargo essential for truck safety. Improperly secured cargo can shift, making the truck difficult to control. The placement of cargo, even if properly secured, can also significantly impact a truck’s susceptibility to rolling over. A top-heavy load makes for an unstable and rollover-prone truck.
- Poor weather conditions. Often, truck drivers feel pressured to keep cargo moving and to meet their goals, even in poor weather conditions, including wet or icy roads. Unfortunately, wet and icy roads also decrease traction and make it easier for vehicles to slide off the road. In poor weather conditions, both truck drivers and the drivers of other vehicles around them must exercise more care to avoid potential accidents.
- Driver error. As in passenger vehicles, truck drivers must take care, especially on roads with a sharp drop-off. If the truck’s wheels slip off the side of the pavement, the truck could roll quickly. Inattention, including distracted driving while talking on the phone, eating, or changing the station on the radio, can all contribute to the possibility of a rollover accident.
How Can You Decrease the Risk of a Truck Rollover Accident?
As the driver of a passenger vehicle, you cannot check a truck driver’s cargo, and you cannot prevent a trucker from driving over the speed limit or otherwise driving negligently. You can, however, learn more about trucking to take several steps to decrease the risks of a rollover accident near you.
- Stay out of the truck driver’s blind spot. Over-correction or over-steering can significantly increase the risk of a rollover accident. If a truck driver fails to notice you in his blind spot, then over-corrects to avoid running into you, it can increase the risk of a rollover accident. Familiarize yourself with a truck driver’s blind spots and try to stay out of them.
- Do not change lanes abruptly in front of a truck. When you change lanes in front of a truck, remember to leave the driver plenty of room to stop. The long stretch in front of a truck driver at an intersection does not give you “plenty of room” to move over; rather, it gives the driver plenty of stopping room. When you cut in front of a truck without enough space, the driver may have to maneuver quickly to avoid hitting you. This can cause the driver to oversteer or lose control of the vehicle, increasing the risk of a rollover accident. Instead, leave plenty of room between you and the truck.
- Don’t push truck drivers on the road. Many truck drivers may increase their speed unsafely if they feel pressure from other drivers, especially in poor weather conditions. Give truck drivers plenty of room to maneuver, especially on wet or icy roads. Try not to ride too close to the back of a truck. Instead, keep your vehicle fully visible and maintain your distance where possible. In tight traffic, back off: getting close will not get you to your destination any faster, and it could create undue pressure or stress for a truck driver. Keep in mind that the driver, like you, must follow the rest of the traffic on the road.
- Try not to drive in high-wind conditions. Winds strong enough to push a semi truck on its side also have more than enough strength to push your passenger vehicle off the road. If you note high wind conditions, try to stay off the road. If you must drive, slow down, and leave more room than usual for semi trucks and other big vehicles. When possible, stay on the side the wind comes from, rather than trying to use the truck as a windbreak. This will help to keep you safe from the truck rolling over onto your car.
If you face serious injuries after a truck rollover accident, you do not have to face the aftermath of the accident on your own. Speaking with a truck accident attorney can help you learn about your rights to compensation for injuries caused by a truck rollover accident.
Benson & Bingham Accident Injury Lawyers, LLC
626 S 10th St
Las Vegas, NV 89101