Large trucks have a lot of weight to move—and to stop. When they can’t, someone can get badly hurt—accidents involving trucks frequently cause catastrophic injuries or death, especially when a heavy truck collides with a much smaller, lighter passenger vehicle. Victims can find themselves underneath piles of bills they can’t pay. That’s when a truck accident lawyer can help.
Here are some facts about types of truck accidents that occur on Nevada roads.
How Bad Is the Problem?
A truck engine alone weighs over 2,500 pounds. An empty truck and box trailer weighs 30,000 to 40,000 pounds, depending on the manufacturer of the semi-truck and trailer. A fully loaded tractor-trailer can weigh up to 80,000 pounds.
In one recent year:
- 458 vehicles in Nevada were involved in fatal traffic accidents
- 38 of those were large trucks.
- In the United States, 3 percent of fatal truck accidents involved a truck driver who was under the influence of alcohol.
- 27 percent of fatal truck accidents happened on interstates.
- Over half of the fatal truck accidents in the United States—58 percent—occurred in rural areas.
- 78 percent happened on weekdays. Of the fatal wrecks that happened on the weekdays, 72 percent of the crashes occurred between 6 a.m. and 5:59 p.m.
Types of Truck Accidents
Trucks get into many different types of accidents. Most of the common trucks on the road are still dangerous for smaller vehicles in general, including jackknife and roll-over accidents.
Truck Roll-Over Accidents
A truck could roll over for many reasons, including speeding around a curve, straight-line winds pushing it over, or a truck driver who over-steers in reaction to a road hazard. If a tractor-trailer rolls onto a car, the weight of it could flatten a car, even if the trailer is empty.
A jackknife accident is when the cab of a tractor trailer swings backward against its own trailer. The trailer’s weight essentially pushes the cab from behind, usually when the driver has to slam on the brakes. A jackknifed trailer can plow into cars next to it and push them forward or even pin them between the truck and the trailer. If a car is small enough, the force of the accident may push the vehicle under the trailer.
Tire Blowout Accidents
A tire blowout is hard enough to handle on a passenger car, let alone a truck weighing tens of thousands of pounds. Depending on which tire blows out on a truck or trailer, the blowout could cause the truck, trailer or both to sway. Once all of that weight starts swaying, it may be difficult for the driver to get the truck under control. The swaying truck and trailer could damage vehicles next to it by hitting them or it could even flip over on top of vehicles.
Blind Spots and Wide Turns
Because of the length of tractor-trailers, they need to make wide turns. If you pass the truck on the right while it turns right from an outside lane, the driver may not see you and could crush you with the trailer or force you off the road. A truck as deep and wide blind spots in the front, and large spots down the sides of the truck and trailer and in the rear. When sharing the road with trucks, avoid blind spots as much as possible, especially on the right of the truck when it turns.
Rear-end accidents involving trucks cause death or catastrophic injuries, whether the truck rear-ends a vehicle or a passenger car rear-ends the truck. If a truck rear-ends a passenger vehicle, its size and weight risk crushing the smaller vehicle. If a passenger vehicle rear-ends a truck, it risks wedging under the truck. In either case, occupants of the smaller vehicle face a high risk of catastrophic injury and death.
A head-on accident involving a large truck is one of the most devastating accidents that can happen. A head-on collision usually results in catastrophic injuries or death. If a truck leaves its lane, it could cause a head-on crash. If one passenger vehicle is passing another on a two-lane road and return to its lane over fast enough, a truck may not have the time to slow down to avoid a head-on collision.
T-bone accidents usually happen at intersections, although they’re possible wherever traffic crosses at right angles. This type of accident happens when one vehicle fails to yield the right of way and runs into the side of another vehicle, or vice versa. Depending on the speed of the vehicles involved in a T-bone collision with a truck, a person in a passenger vehicle could suffer catastrophic injuries or even death.
If a trucking company, driver, or another person who is responsible for loading the truck does not secure the load properly, it could shift or even fall off the trailer. A shifting load could cause the driver to lose control. A load that comes loose could fall off the trailer. If the trailer is a flatbed, the load could fall off either side or the rear of the trailer. If the trailer is a box, a shifting load could hit the rear doors hard enough to force the doors open and spill the cargo onto the roadway. All of these scenarios create significant dangers for other motorists.
Avoiding Truck Accidents
While not everyone can avoid truck accidents—they often happen very quickly, and due to no fault of your own—you can lower your risk of being in an accident with a large truck by knowing where a truck’s blind spots are and get out of them as soon as possible. Always stay at least 40 feet behind a truck. Remember, if you can’t see the truck driver in his mirrors, the driver cannot see you.
Never pass a truck on the right. Even passing on the right on the interstate is dangerous. The truck driver may plan on moving over into the right lane after he or she passed a slower driver. If you are in the truck’s blind spot, the driver won’t see you.
If your best efforts fail and a tractor-trailer truck injured you or killed a loved one in a truck accident, a free consultation with a truck accident lawyer can answer your questions.
Benson & Bingham Accident Injury Lawyers, LLC
626 S 10th St
Las Vegas, NV 89101