In 2018, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation reported that there were 7,336 large trucks involved in traffic accidents, and 118 people were killed in Pennsylvania that year alone. Because large trucks (especially those carrying a load) weigh so much more than the vehicles they share the road with, accidents involving them can quickly prove serious or fatal. A large truck can easily weigh up to 80,000 pounds — 20x that of the average vehicle on the road.
Most Common Types of Truck-Related Accidents
There are certain types of truck-related accidents that are extremely common and dangerous to vehicles that are involved. For example:
No Man’s Land
If a vehicle is in the blind spot of a truck (sometimes called “No Man’s Land” or the “No-Zone”), the truck driver cannot see them. This becomes especially dangerous when a truck changes lanes because other vehicles are at risk of being forced off the road, hit, or even crushed. A large truck may switch lanes without warning, leading to severe accidents.
Head-on collisions between small vehicles can be devastating, but such a collision with a truck usually results in serious injury or death due to the size and weight of the truck.
Rollovers are scary no matter what type of vehicle is involved, but for a truck, it can also lead to damage and injury to neighboring vehicles as well. Because of the height of the trailers, it is possible for them to flip over onto another vehicle, making the dangers even more serious.
Trucks can lose their load if it has not been properly secured or if it was not loaded correctly. If these loads fall out on the road, multiple vehicles may end up in an accident. Lost loads can include things such as logs falling out of the side of a trailer or packages spilling out in the road from the rear doors of a trailer. Nearby vehicles will invariably swerve to avoid the load, and chaos results.
Large trucks can also rear-end other vehicles, sometimes crushing smaller cars and causing serious injuries or loss of life.
Any type of vehicle can experience a blowout, but a truck blowout is far more serious. The truck driver will struggle to maintain control and neighboring vehicles may need to swerve to avoid the remains of the tire or to avoid a collision with the truck.
Wide Right Turns
Because the trailer is so long, trucks have to make very wide right turns. The truck driver must make an especially wide swing to start making that turn, and if another vehicle is in the blind spot it may find itself trapped between the truck and other traffic. lack of focus on the part of a truck driver while making a turn can cause serious injury and harm to vehicles and individuals in the area.
Causes of Truck Accidents
Now that we have discussed the most common types of truck accidents, we can take a look at what causes these accidents in the first place. Poor maintenance of the truck can result in driving with worn-out brakes, broken lights, or tires that need replacement. It is the truck driver’s responsibility to check the rig before driving and verify that maintenance has been properly performed. In addition, there can also be equipment failures that lead to dangerous conditions and accidents.
Inclement weather has led to countless accidents, including those involving large trucks. Sleet, ice, snow, pouring rain, slick roads, and compromised visibility can all lead to very dangerous conditions. This is especially seen in connection with jack-knifing and rear-end collisions. If truckers speed or do not drive in a manner appropriate for the weather, it can lead to serious injury and fatal accidents.
If a truck has not been loaded correctly, the result can be a lost load. There are industry-specific rules and regulations that govern the secure loading of different types of cargo. If these regulations are not followed, people can be injured or killed.
The most common reason for truck accidents is driver error. Far too often, truck drivers are negligent while operating their trucks and cause collisions with other vehicles. The negligence may be the result of sleepiness, driving under the influence, or distracted driving.
Truck accidents can take a variety of forms, but many of these accidents can be traced to poor maintenance, inclement weather, unsafe loading, or distracted/aggressive driving. Regardless of the cause, however, truck accidents can quickly turn serious due to their weight and size compared to the other vehicles that share the road with them.
Contact Sacchetta & Baldino
If you have been in an accident with a large truck, the accident and personal injury lawyers of Sacchetta & Baldino can help you get the compensation you deserve under the law. Our office can handle all communication with insurance companies, file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit on your behalf, and either negotiate a settlement or pursue your claim in court. Contact us today so that we can put our years of experience to work for you and make sure you receive the compensation the law provides.