Truck accidents are some of the most dangerous accidents on our roadways, and unfortunately, they come in far too many different varieties. Truck accidents are often caused by negligence on the part of the truck driver, and the occupants of the other – much smaller – vehicle involved are at far greater risk of being seriously injured in the course of the accident. If someone else’s negligence causes you to be injured in a truck accident, you shouldn’t wait to consult with an accomplished Austin truck accident attorney.
What’s in This Guide
Common Types of Truck Accidents
Truck accidents are as varied as car accidents are, but there are several dangerous types that are most common.
Head-On and Rear-End Collisions
No one has to tell you how terrifying seeing a massive semi heading right for you on the road is, and these head-on truck accidents are just as terrifying as they sound. Head-on collisions are often caused when truckers pass too aggressively (in two-lane traffic) or make dangerous mistakes, such as pulling the wrong way into oncoming traffic (often as a result of impairment). Rear-end collisions are a different matter. They are among the most common type of truck accidents, and they are often the result of the truck driver failing to take his or rig’s immense size and weight into careful enough consideration. Semis are many, many times heavier than any other vehicles on the roadway, and this means they require far longer stopping distances. When a semi driver fails to allow a safe travelling distance between his or her rig and a forward vehicle, life-threatening rear-end collisions can ensue.
The cab of a semi-truck is attached to its trailer by a hitch that pivots and allows the trailer to remain in coordination with the cab but to move independently, which facilitates taking turns and curves safely. When too much motion occurs in the context of this coupling, the semi’s trailer can fold in upon the cab – much like the action that occurs when a jackknife closes, and the danger inherent to these accidents is difficult to overstate. Jackknife accidents often involve multiple other vehicles and can affect several lanes of traffic.
Blind Spot Accidents
Truck drivers experience serious blind spots – in which they are unable to see other vehicles – all the way around their rigs. These blind spots are most dangerous when truckers leave their lane of traffic, take curves or turns, or exit the road. The fact is that if you are traveling on a truck driver’s left and cannot see his or her face in the semi’s side mirror, the trucker does not know you’re there, and you should proceed with utmost caution.
18-wheelers are not only massive but are also vulnerable to the effects of shifting cargo and otherwise poorly loaded contents. Further, the height of big rigs leaves them more vulnerable to the dangerous effects of high winds. All of these factors can contribute to life-threatening rollover accidents. When a semi rolls over, it puts everyone in the vicinity at incredible risk of being seriously injured.
Underride accidents refer to those accidents in which a vehicle travels under the carriage of the semi truck’s trailer – either from the side or at the rear. While semis are required to have safety bars at the rear to help prevent these incredibly dangerous accidents, no such requirements apply for the sides of trucks.
18 wheelers have 18 wheels and 18 tires, and any one of them can blowout at any time. Proper tire maintenance and scheduled safety checks, however, can help to lessen the risk that a dangerous blowout will happen. When a tire blows, the truck driver’s control over the rig is severely diminished, which can lead to serious accidents. Further, when a truck’s tire blows out, the power behind the flying debris can prove exceptionally dangerous, and finally, the debris itself (as it lies on the road) can lead to serious accidents in its own right.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
The causes of truck accidents are as varied as the kinds of truck accidents, but these dangerous traffic accidents are often related to truck driver negligence, which comes in far too many life-threatening varieties.
The massive size of semi-trucks makes any excess speed that much more dangerous. Speed is one of the most critical elements in fatal truck accident statistics, and excess speed not only increases the risk that truck accidents will happen but also increases the chance that they will be deadly. Excess speed makes it more difficult for a truck driver to handle his or her rig safely, but it also increases the amount of space on the road the trucker needs to come to a safe spot, thus increasing the risk of rear-end accidents.
Truck drivers are professional drivers, which means they are held to higher safety standards than the rest of us. In other words, there is absolutely no acceptable amount of distraction behind the wheel of a big rig. It probably comes as no surprise that the most dangerous distraction of all is texting, which has the distinction of melding all three brands of distraction into one, including:
- One’s hands
- One’s thoughts
- One’s sight
When a trucker is traveling at highway speeds and has his or her nose in a text, he or she can travel the length of a football field without coming up for air, and that is a dangerous game.
Because truck drivers are professional drivers, the law has absolutely zero tolerance regarding impairment.
Drowsy driving is dangerous, but it takes on even more importance for truck drivers. Trucking is exhausting work, and truckers’ schedules can be relentless. There are exacting restrictions in place regarding the hours of service that truckers can put it, and when they maneuver to bypass these restrictions, it can lead to very dangerous truck accidents.
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An Experienced Austin Truck Accident Attorney Is Standing by to Help
A truck accident can dramatically upend your life, and if someone else’s negligence leaves you injured in a truck accident, it’s time to take action. The resourceful Austin truck accident attorneys at The Patel Firm focus their practice on steering cases like yours toward beneficial conclusions. To learn more, please don’t put off contacting or calling us at 361-400-2036 today.