Large commercial trucks use Durham and the surrounding major freeways to transport materials and products. While large trucks and the freight industry play a crucial role in the U.S. economy, these vehicles pose a significant threat to others on the road because of their large size, heavy cargo, and difficulty to operate.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), North Carolina had nearly 200 fatal truck accidents in one recent year—and many more truck accidents that resulted in severe injuries. Just because trucks are large does not mean drivers or the industry aren’t responsible for the accidents that occur.
There are many steps trucking companies and truck drivers can take to prevent accidents, from providing proper training to maintaining the fleet of vehicles and making good driving decisions. These precautions can prevent some of these common types of truck accidents.
When a truck driver loses control of the vehicle, it can roll over, often onto other cars or across traffic lanes. The chaos can cause multiple-vehicle pileup accidents. Truck drivers can prevent rollover accidents by adjusting their speed while driving on a steep incline or around sharp curves. An overloaded truck or a truck with an unbalanced load may also be more likely to roll over.
When a truck brakes too quickly, the trailer portion cannot stop right away and continues to move. Since the trailer is attached to the cab with a hitch, the trailer can pivot to a 90-degree angle with the cab and resembles a folding pocket knife. This often blocks multiple traffic lanes and can lead to a rollover accident.
Not only are trucks significantly heavier than cars, but they are also substantially taller. When a truck brakes suddenly, a small car traveling behind them can drive under the back of the truck. This is one of the deadliest types of commercial vehicle accidents. To help prevent underride accidents, federal law requires rear impact guards. Truckers can also protect other drivers by using side guards.
Also known as a side-impact collision, this type of accident can be especially dangerous because the truck hits the middle of the car, where there is less protection than the front or rear end. The damage can cause severe injuries to the vehicle occupants. This type of accident often occurs when a truck turns across multiple lanes, goes through an intersection, or doesn’t yield.
Trucks have a longer stopping distance than most other vehicles. Truck drivers should be aware of this and adjust their speed and following distance, especially while driving during bad weather or through areas with a steep incline.
Drivers who are intoxicated, tired, or distracted are more likely than others to cause a head-on crash. These often happen at high speeds when the truck drifts or swerves into oncoming traffic. Head-on crashes can be especially dangerous because of the extreme force involved.
Wide Turn Accidents
Most trucks require more than one lane to turn and must swing left before turning right. If a truck driver is unaware of their surroundings, they could turn into a vehicle next to them or hit a vehicle coming up from behind.
This type of accident is most common while merging onto a freeway or when a truck driver changes lanes without noticing a car in their blind spot. The initial impact of a sideswipe accident does not always do significant damage. However, it can force the other vehicle to lose control. Sending it across multiple lanes of traffic, it can hit other vehicles or a cement barrier with high force.
Large commercial vehicles are more vulnerable to tire failure than smaller vehicles. When a tire blows out, the driver may lose control of the vehicle. Proper tire maintenance can prevent some blowouts. Training can provide drivers with the skills needed to keep their vehicle under control after a blowout.
Blind Spot Accidents
Trucks have large blind spots to the front, sides, and rear. All drivers should be cautious when passing through blind spots. But it is impossible to avoid driving in a truck’s blind spot altogether. Truck drivers must constantly observe traffic around them to determine if a car is in their blind spot before changing lanes or making any other sudden movement.
Talk to an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney in Durham, NC Today
If you have been injured in any type of truck accident because of someone else’s negligence, you could be owed compensation for your injuries. The federal government has set a high standard for regulations on commercial trucks to protect everyone on the roads. The results can be catastrophic when truck drivers, trucking companies, maintenance workers, or other parties don’t meet these standards.
The attorneys at Kreger Brodish LLP are committed to seeking justice for those injured in truck accidents. Our firm has spent over a decade fighting for compensation for victims in the Durham area. We look forward to helping you with your individual needs.
Contact us today either online or by phone for a free consultation. One of our Durham truck accident lawyers can review the details of your case and help you understand your legal options to seek the compensation you deserve.