Each year, over 3,800 fatal truck accidents are documented on US highways. Of those crashes, the majority (73%) involve a truck colliding with another vehicle, such as a passenger car or van. About 10% of truck accidents happen with a fixed object or with a pedestrian. Roughly 5% of deadly truck accidents are caused by a rollover accident. Those numbers are just for fatalities alone – factor in accidents that cause personal injury and property damage, and the figures are much higher. Regardless of the cause, truck accidents can cause catastrophic consequences. If you or a loved one has been injured, or killed by a truck driver, it’s time to call a Houston 18 wheeler accident lawyer for help.
Types of Truck Accidents
Truck accidents happen for a number of reasons, including drivers losing control and stopping short. Trucks can turnover or hit other cars on the road in many ways. Although any truck accident can cause serious injuries or death, the severity of that accident damage and injuries often depends largely on the type of accident. Here are some types of truck accidents:
One of the most common types of truck accidents is a jackknife. A jackknife accident happens when a truck brakes too quickly. The cab of the truck is connected to the part that it hauls (the trailer) by a device called a coupling. If the coupling breaks or becomes disconnected, the trailer will swing perpendicular to the cab. The more weight the truck is carrying and the faster that it is traveling, the more severe a jackknife will be. A jackknifed truck is especially dangerous because it can create bottlenecks in traffic and cause subsequent accidents.
Trucks have a higher center of gravity than passenger vehicles. That makes it much easier for them to turn over in certain situation. Rollover accidents happen when drivers go too fast around turns, or drive too fast in high winds. Rollovers can also occur when drivers try to over-correct a driving action, or make other sudden moves while driving.
A runaway truck is one that can’t slow down or stop. This happens when the truck’s weight makes it impossible to stop. A runaway occurs most often when a truck goes downhill, but it can also happen on level ground. Ice and other poor road conditions make a runaway more likely. In a runaway, a truck can strike anything in its path, including cars.
In this accident, an 18-wheel stops quickly, which causes the car behind it to become stuck under the truck’s trailer. This can kill or severely injure the front row occupants, and it’s one of the most catastrophic truck accidents that a truck accident attorney Houston sees.
An over ride happens when a truck hits a car from behind. While a smaller car might just hit the car in front and stop, the weight of a truck can make it go over the back of the car and into the back passenger rows, which often has deadly consequences.
A tire blowout, as you might have guessed from the name, happens when a truck’s tire gives way as it is driving. This is one of the most dangerous types of accidents, as it can cause the truck to swerve uncontrollably and crash. The damaged tire also poses a safety hazard on the roadway, as it can either become airborne and hit another vehicle or tear and become scattered over the road’s surface.
When a truck makes a right turn, it typically swings to the left so that it can clear the corner. This is also called a “swinging turn.” In the process of turning, a truck can cut off cars in the right-hand lane, which can force them onto the sidewalk. This type of accident causes many truck-pedestrian accidents.
Like cars, trucks have blind spots where they can’t see the road. But trucks have a much bigger blind spot than cars, which is referred to as “no man’s land.” What’s frightening is that even if a truck can’t see the car next to it while turning, it may still change lanes, which puts the vehicle in jeopardy of being crushed or run off the road.
Another cause of serious injuries and fatalities from trucking accidents is called a lost load. This happens when inadequately loaded and secured truck loads fall out, which poses a safety risk to other motorists on the road. Loads that come undone can hit other vehicles on the road or litter the ground with debris.
Main Causes of Truck Accidents
A truck accident attorney in Houston can attest that there are many causes of truck accidents. Bad weather, driver error, and even the type of truck involved can factor into the cause of a truck accident.
Some of the most common causes for truck accidents are:
- Distracted driving
- Driving while tired
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Aggressive driving
- Improperly secured cargo
- Improperly inspected or maintained trucks
You might be surprised to know that the highest number of accidents are attributed to drug and alcohol use. Together, they account for over a quarter of all trucking accidents. This is primarily due to slowed reaction time and impaired judgment.
The second most prevalent cause of trucking accidents is speed. Speed, at 23% of all accidents, was the second largest contributing factor to accidents. This is not surprising, considering that the faster the truck is driving the more of an impact it will have when it hits something.
Being unfamiliar with the area in which the trucker is driving through is also a surprisingly high cause of accidents. In fact, up to 22% of all trucking accidents are attributed to the driver being unfamiliar with driving through a certain area. Dealing with unfamiliar roads and trying to navigate through unknown neighborhoods causes a great deal of stress to the driver. It also poses a safety hazard if the driver can’t react in time or gets distracted. This is especially problematic at nighttime, when it can be much more difficult to read road signs and see the road.
Distracted Driving & Road Rage Explained
Two of the other main categories of truck accidents (that causes 9% of crashes) is distracted driving and driver fatigue. These two causes of accidents are much less prevalent than they once were. This is thanks to the addition of new laws and federal regulations that restrict driving time. Not talking on the cell phones is another distraction that is being enforced now days.
Lastly, another common cause of accidents, at 7% of accidents, is road rage. But like distracted driving, laws and regulations that punish aggressive driving are cutting down on the number of road rage incidents, which in turn reduces the number of truck accidents related to aggressive driving.
What To Do If You’ve Been Injured In A Truck Accident
If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, you have likely suffered damage in the form of personal injury, property damage, and emotional distress. Dealing with the aftermath of an accident can be very difficult, both physically and emotionally. But just because you’ve suffered in an accident doesn’t mean that the suffering has to continue. With the help of a Houston 18 wheeler accident lawyer, you can get your life back on track after a truck accident and get the compensation that you deserve.