According to News Channel 4 Oklahoma City, a truck rolled over recently when it took a curve too fast. The truck was hauling Star Wars toys, and it ended up hanging off the edge of the interstate after the accident occurred. The truck was one of many that rolls over each year. Rollover crashes are a common type of truck accident, and are one of the most dangerous types of truck crashes. In fact, rollover accidents, underride crashes, and jackknife accidents are truck collisions that drivers should be especially careful to prevent.
Preventing Three Dangerous Types of Truck Crashes
Rollover accidents frequently occur when trucks are on curved paths, as the recent crash reported by News 4 demonstrated. Centrifugal forces can cause trucks to try to lean away from the direction of a curve when the truck is going around the curve, exacerbating the likelihood of an accident occurring. Truck drivers need to be cautious and go slowly to avoid this. Proper load balance is also essential. Trucks are top heavy under the best of circumstances and have a high center of gravity, which contributes to a rollover risk. If they are not loaded correctly, the risk becomes even greater.
One paper from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated rollovers to account for around 18 percent of truck crashes. Unfortunately, this type of truck accident is deadly a disproportionate percentage of the time. Rollovers accounted for around 35 percent of fatal collisions included in the NHTSA paper.
Another type of common truck crash which is especially likely to be fatal is an underride accident. According to Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, around 432 people die each year in car crashes when their vehicles hit the back of trucks and slide at least partway under the truck. More than 5,000 additional occupants of passenger vehicles get hurt because their car slides under the truck. Underride accidents are supposed to be prevented by side and rear underride guards but the guards don't work as well as they are supposed to so cars can slide under trucks. In one study of 1,000 truck crashes, there were 28 fatal accidents and severe or partial underride was a factor in 23 out of the 28 deadly crashes.
Finally, drivers also need to be concerned about jackknife accidents. A jackknife accident happens in situations where a trailer starts to skid. Wikihow indicates that the trailer ends up pushing out of its place behind the tractor that is towing it and causes the whole vehicle to end up spinning around. The driver, of course, loses control. This is most likely to happen when a driver hits the brakes hard going downhill or hits the brakes while going around a curve. If the driver is on a slippery surface and uses the engine brakes, this can lead to the drive axle locking up and can also contribute to the possibility a jackknife accident will occur. These accidents often cause serious injuries or fatalities to those in passenger cars.