Truck drivers are expected to exercise reasonable caution to prevent truck accidents in Oregon. Unfortunately, accidents can and do happen in spite of that expectation. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported there were 330,000 large trucks involved in accidents nationwide over the course of 2012. Truck drivers should be following the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs), other rules of the road, and best practices for safety to try to avoid all types of truck collisions.
Accidents, however, unfortunately will continue to happen. While trucks can become involved in many different kinds of accidents, there are three common types of truck crashes that often cause serious injuries and deaths.
Three Common and Dangerous Types of Oregon Truck Accidents
Three of the most common types of truck accidents include:
- Rollover truck accidents. Trucks are top heavy, which makes a rollover more likely. Unbalanced loads can exacerbate the risk, as can worn brakes. Rollover accidents make up about 18 percent of truck accidents according to one paper published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The death rate is disproportionally high compared with the total percentage of rollover accidents. About 35 percent of deadly truck accidents involve a rollover.
- Underride accidents. Underride accidents happen because trucks are higher than surrounding cars. When a collision occurs, surrounding cars can actually get forced under the truck. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) warns that side and rear guards aren’t as effective as they should be for stopping underride accidents. In 23 out of 28 deadly truck accidents included in one study, there was significant underride, so much more needs to be done to protect the public. As many as 432 people die on average each year because of underride accidents and around another 5,000 get hurt when their cars go under trucks.
- Jackknife accidents. Wikihow indicates this type of crash starts with a skid. The trailer pushes out from behind the tractor as part of the skid, spinning and hitting the tractor and causing loss of control of the vehicle.
There are things that truck drivers should be doing to prevent these three common types of serious truck crashes. Maintaining and loading the truck properly are two of the most important steps to prevent these types of accidents. Unbalanced loads contribute to the risk of a truck rolling over, while problems with the brakes can contribute to both rollover and jackknife accidents.
Jackknife accidents and rollover accidents are both more likely to happen around curves, so drivers need to be careful when going around a turn. Centrifugal force can lead the truck to start to tip away from the curve as the truck goes around it, while trying to hit the brakes quickly on a curve can cause loss of vehicle control leading to a rollover.
Truck drivers need to operate within the speed limit, maintain and load their vehicles properly, and avoid sudden braking to try to prevent all of these dangerous types of crashes from occurring. When they don’t, victims of truck crashes can and should hold them accountable.