In 2018, a total of 4,136 people died in large truck crashes. These accidents made up 11% of the year’s traffic fatalities, and many of them involved rollovers. Large trucks are more likely to roll over than other vehicles for several reasons, including their often-unstable loads and fatigued, overworked drivers.
The Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine released an analysis of large truck rollover crashes that can help us understand them. The organization found that almost half of these accidents resulted from drivers failing to adjust their speed to curves in the road. Rollover accidents occurred most frequently on on-and-off ramps.
Other factors that influenced rollover truck accidents included:
- The load being carried
- The condition of the truck’s brakes
- Road and intersection conditions
- Drowsy driving behaviors
- Driver inattention
- Steering and oversteering
Due to their size, large trucks have a higher center of gravity than passenger vehicles. When this heightened center of gravity is combined with unstable loads, the results can be fatal. Additionally, the loading and unloading of trucks are frequently rushed, so drivers may not be aware of the weight, height, and security of their loads until it is too late.
POORLY MAINTAINED VEHICLES
Many truck drivers get into rollover accidents when they attempt to slow down before a curve in the road. If their brakes are not maintained properly, the suspension of their vehicle is off, or their tires are underinflated and/or unable to get traction, drivers may lose control of their trucks and inadvertently cause a dangerous rollover accident.
ROAD AND INTERSECTION CONDITIONS
Anyone who drives a motor vehicle knows how important it is to adjust their speed to road conditions. If a truck driver fails to do this, they are putting themselves and the drivers around them at risk for rollover accidents. If the road is slippery, for instance, large trucks will be unable to gain traction on the road and become especially hazardous.
DROWSY AND DISTRACTED DRIVING
Operating a motor vehicle like a semi-truck requires a commercial driver’s license (CDL). It also requires more care and attention than driving a normal vehicle. If drivers are sleepy or fail to pay attention to a road, they may miss a rollover-causing hazard. For example, a drowsy driver may not anticipate a curve in time to prevent a rollover and a distracted driver may fail to notice the curve entirely. The biggest problem for truck drivers was found to be a lack of sufficient attention to driving.
Keeping a large truck under control can be a difficult task. Many drivers oversteer or understeer while they drive or overcorrect after minor errors. If a truck begins to drift out of its lane, for instance, and the driver jerks the wheel to get back into the lane, the force of their movement could be enough to cause a rollover accident.
Large trucks are dangerous by nature when it comes to rollover accidents. To avoid rollovers, drivers must not only pay attention but also have a readily maintained vehicle, a stable load, and ideal driving conditions.
That being said, driver behavior is the most common cause of rollover truck accidents, so anyone who is injured in a truck accident should not hesitate to hold the responsible parties accountable.
If you’ve been injured or lost a loved one to a rollover truck accident or another collision, please contact Richardson Richardson Boudreaux, PLLC. Our attorneys can be reached directly at 918-492-7674 or online.