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8 Most Common Types of Truck Accidents That Can Be Extremely Dangerous

8 Most Common Types of Truck Accidents That Can Be Extremely Dangerous


8 Most Common Types of Truck Accidents That Can Be Extremely Dangerous

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there were 13.49 fatal truck accidents per million people in the United States in 2020, a staggering 27% increase since 2010. The National Safety Council revealed that 4,965 people died in commercial truck accidents in 2020, with 15% of the deaths being truck drivers and 68% being occupants of other vehicles.

Ehline Law and our truck accident lawyers have over 15 years of extensive experience and a superior track record. Our award-winning law firm has aggressively recovered over $150 million in compensation for our injured clients.

Contact our truck accident attorneys if you’ve suffered injuries in a truck accident in California or Texas to learn more about your rights as an injured victim. We have worked with many types of truck accident claims, but here we will discuss some of the most common ones we’ve encountered.

8 Most Common Types of Truck Accidents

There are many different types of truck accidents, but the following are the eight most common types of truck accidents.

Truck Rollover Accident

A truck rollover is one of the most dangerous and terrifying truck accidents. Unlike passenger cars, tractor-trailers and large commercial trucks have a higher center of gravity, and truck drivers must exert extreme caution around corners. Making tight turns or sudden swerves when driving fast can risk the truck tipping over, leading to a rollover accident.

Truck rollover accidents can create a hazardous situation for other road users, increasing the risk of a multi-vehicle accident. In some cases where the truck is carrying flammable liquid, it can burst into flames, putting others around the vehicle in danger.

Trucking companies must ensure proper background checks when hiring and provide adequate training before letting the drivers drive the trucks. Distracted driving, drunk driving, fatigue, and reckless or negligent driving are some of the most common causes of truck rollover accidents. However, truck accidents can happen even if the truck driver is driving safely.

For example, an improperly loaded trailer due to negligent crew members can cause the truck to sway dangerously on the road, lose balance, and crash. Sometimes rollover truck accidents can happen due to tire blowouts, which usually occur when the trucking company fails to carry out the necessary tire maintenance or overloads the truck.

Rear-end Truck Driver Accidents

Rear-end collisions are prevalent among passenger cars and can lead to whiplash injuries, but they’re not as severe as when a truck gets involved in a rear-end accident. A rear-end truck accident, due to the massive size and weight of the truck, can crush passenger vehicles, leading to severe injuries and, in some cases, death.

Trucks are heavyweight vehicles, and drivers must drive slowly and maintain a sufficient distance between their truck and other passenger vehicles because if there is a risk of an accident, the truck driver can slow down gently and avoid risking a rollover accident. However, a negligent truck driver who partakes in tailgating or demonstrates road rage can lead to serious rear-end truck accidents.

Truck operators must follow the FMCSA-recommended following distances to provide enough stopping distance in an emergency.

Head-on Collisions

Head-on collisions typically occur when the drivers on the road, whether the truck driver or another road user, fails to yield the right of way. The right of way is a complicated rule, and due to the lack of understanding among road users, it often leads to head-on collisions.

A head-on collision with a truck can damage passenger vehicles, crushing them and bursting into a ball of flames. Negligent drivers who fail to drive their vehicle in their own lane and swerve into other lanes can increase the risk of a head-on collision.

Head-on collisions are common when a driver makes a left turn and fails to stop for the incoming vehicle. In some cases, a head-on collision occurs due to fatigue which happens when the truck driver is working long hours, causing them to nod off and swerve into oncoming traffic.

Tire blowouts are also one of the reasons for head-on collisions, as when it happens, a truck driver loses control and enters another lane, increasing the risk of a crash.

Jackknife Accidents

Commercial trucks are more difficult to drive than passenger cars and require a certain level of expertise, especially when handling and braking these oversized vehicles. Improper braking or sudden sharp turns can lead to jackknife accidents, putting other road users at risk of injuries or death.

Jackknife accidents occur when the trailer of a large semi-truck, big rig, or tractor trailers pushes the front towing vehicle to one side, creating a shape of a folding knife. The trailer that extends into most of the road can crash into other cars, bulldozing through traffic until the truck comes to a halt.

Jackknife accidents often happen when the truck driver brakes hard or too quickly, especially during slippery conditions such as snow or rain. Sudden or quick braking can cause the truck to slow down quicker than the trailer, causing a fishtailing motion and creating a “jackknife” position. Making sharp turns can also cause a trailer to skid out to one side.

Even if a truck that gets “jackknifed” manages to avoid collisions with vehicles, it is a serious hazard for oncoming traffic, especially other distracted drivers who fail to notice it and crash into the truck. It is crucial to immediately call 911 to inform law enforcement authorities so they can re-route traffic and close the affected section of the road to avoid collisions.

T-bone Accidents

T-bone accidents occur primarily at intersections and when truck operators ignore the red light, fail to stop at a stop sign, or violate the right of way. A truck T-bone accident refers to when the front of the truck strikes the side of a passenger car, forming the shape of a “T” at the point of impact.

When a T-bone accident happens, the side of the vehicle the truck crashes into absorbs all the impact, severely affecting the driver or passenger on that side of the car. 

Intoxicated, drowsy, negligent, or speeding truck drivers may violate traffic rules, fail to stop at an intersection, and ram into another vehicle that has the right of way, causing devastating injuries to the passengers or driver of that car.

T-bone accidents may also occur when the truck driver makes an improper turn, causing other road vehicles to crash into the side of the truck.

Sideswipe Accidents

These types of truck accidents happen when a truck and another vehicle drive next to each other in the same direction and make contact. Sideswipe accidents involving large commercial trucks or tractor-trailers typically occur when truck drivers fail to notice other vehicles in their blind spots and decide to change lanes or merge into traffic.

Sometimes, sideswipe accidents may occur when truck drivers lose control of their trucks due to a tire blowout, strong winds, or slippery conditions. Drugged, drunk, or distracted truck drivers also increase the risk of sideswipe accidents as they lose focus on their surroundings.

When a sideswipe accident happens, it can force the smaller vehicle into other lanes, increasing the risk of a multi-vehicle collision.

Wide-turn Accidents

Truck drivers have the responsibility to maneuver turns, whether left-hand turns or right-hand turns, carefully, as they can often be tight. Some truck drivers take a wide left turn before making a right-hand turn to avoid the “tight squeeze,” but in doing so, they put other road users at risk, especially those motor vehicles and motorcycles in the truck’s blind spots.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration recommends traveling into the furthest lane before turning rightward into the closest lane. However, even with these recommendations, truck drivers must judge the time and clearance before making the turn.

Underride Accidents

These types of accidents are one of the deadliest types of truck accidents as it involves other vehicles crashing into the back or the side of the truck when the commercial truck driver immediately brakes. It can cause the top of smaller passenger cars to rip off by force, dealing considerable damage to them.

Although it may seem that such types of truck accidents are impossible to prevent, that’s not the case, as simple side guards can prevent vehicles from sliding entirely under the truck.

Should You Pursue a Truck Accident Claim?

A truck accident can lead to catastrophic injuries, with many truck accident victims requiring intensive surgeries, rehabilitation, therapy, and other medical treatments. Even after following the medical professional’s treatment plan, the victim may not be able to enjoy their life as they used to before the truck accident.

Another cause for concern after a truck accident is the financial burden that can cause stress and affect recovery. The injured victim may incur hundreds of thousands of dollars and, in some cases, millions of dollars in damages, depending on the severity of their injuries. It’s not fair that the accident victim goes through all that torment, physical pain, and hardships for a truck accident caused by another’s negligence.

At Ehline Law, we protect the rights of truck accident victims and aggressively fight until we’ve recovered the compensation they deserve. Our truck accident lawyer can help evaluate your case, assess and calculate the damages incurred, gather the necessary evidence to establish negligence, and build a trial-ready case to increase your chances of financial recovery.

We understand how devastating a truck accident can be, and our truck accident lawyer is ready to safeguard your rights and provide you with the best legal representation.

Schedule a Free Consultation with A Truck Accident Lawyer

We’ve just discussed the eight most common types of truck accidents we’ve encountered since our opening in 2005. If you’ve suffered injuries in a truck accident, contact us at (833) LETS-SUE for a free consultation with our truck accident attorneys to discuss your case, as you may be able to seek compensation.

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Michael Ehline

Michael Ehline is an inactive U.S. Marine and world-famous legal historian. Michael helped draft the Cruise Ship Safety Act and has won some of U.S. history’s largest motorcycle accident settlements. Together with his legal team, Michael and the Ehline Law Firm collect damages on behalf of clients. We pride ourselves on being available to answer your most pressing and difficult questions 24/7. We are proud sponsors of the Paul Ehline Memorial Motorcycle Ride and a Service Disabled Veteran Operated Business. (SDVOB.) We are ready to fight.