It is not uncommon for the drivers of smaller passenger vehicles be intimidated when sharing the road with enormous commercial trucks. Whether they are 18-wheelers, construction vehicles or delivery vans, these vehicles carry more weight than nearly anything else on the road. Accidents involving commercial vehicles tend to result in devastating property damage and catastrophic injuries.
There are four accident categories that can be attributed to any type of vehicles.
- Head-on collisions
- Rear-end collisions
- Side-impact collisions
In addition to these categories, there are three types of accidents that generally only apply to the larger commercial trucks.
- Underride accidents: In what is typically a rear-end collision, the smaller vehicle rear-ends the truck and slides under the trailer. The smaller vehicle can be stuck in this position.
- Jackknife accidents: When the hinge or “fifth-wheel” that connects the truck cab to the trailer overswings, the two truck components can come at rest at a 90-degree angle – similar to the shape of a capital L. A truck in this position can block the entire road and cause numerous collisions as vehicles swerve to avoid the obstruction.
- Cargo-related accidents: From losing an unsecured load to the loss of trailer stability due to an unbalanced load, the trailer can cause vehicle accidents no matter the experience of the driver.
As data is constantly being compiled and updated by the Department of Transportation (DOT), they caution drivers not to make assumptions about road traffic. While commercial trucks are more visible on our nation’s highways, the DOT reports that more than half (57 percent) of all fatal truck accidents occur in rural areas. Twenty-seven percent occur on interstate highways.
It is important to discuss your case with an experienced personal injury attorney who can answer your questions and provide legal guidance from start to finish.