Most Common Types of Truck Accidents in Texas
Commercial trucking is a major industry in Texas and is vital to our state’s economy. Unfortunately, there is a lot that can go wrong when operating a multi-ton rig, especially if the driver behaves in a negligent or reckless manner. When a crash does happen, the result can be catastrophic.
While large commercial trucks make up less than 5 percent of all vehicles registered in the U.S, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reports that large trucks are involved in more than 13 percent of all fatal crashes. Of those killed in truck accidents, more than 7 in 10 are occupants of other vehicles.
So, why are truck accidents so deadly? Also, what are the most common types of truck accidents? Read on to find out.
Rear-end crashes are among the most common types of truck accidents in Texas. Tractor-trailers are large, heavy, and slow to stop. When a truck driver fails to allow for adequate following distance, they put motorists in front of them at risk.
Rear-end truck accidents are also a common result of speeding and distracted driving. As traffic slows or stalls ahead of a tractor-trailer, every second counts. If a distraction has prevented a truck driver from applying their brakes at a reasonable time, there is little that can be done to prevent a collision. Same for speeding as it increases the amount of distance a truck needs to stop. This is one reason Texas trucking laws are so strict about maintaining proper speed.
Other factors that contribute to rear-end truck crashes are poor road conditions, construction, and inclement weather.
Jackknife accidents are typically the result of improper braking or dangerous turning maneuvers. They occur when a trailer swings widely and pushes the towing vehicle from behind, causing it to swing around as the trailer continues forward. It is called “jackknifing” because the tractor and trailer come to rest at an acute angle that resembles a folding pocket knife.
What makes jackknife accidents so deadly is the unpredictability of the skidding trailer. The heavy trailer can strike nearby vehicles, causing multiple collisions. Depending on how congested traffic is or how the trailer is angled, the trailer may even hit multiple cars at once.
Jackknifed 18-wheelers also pose a hazard to approaching cars as they can cover multiple lanes of traffic. Incoming traffic may crash into the now stopped tractor and trailer, causing multi-car pileups.
18-Wheelers are tall, and trailers especially can tip over easier than most other vehicles on the road. Taking sharp turns or traveling too fast may cause a trailer to flip on its side or turn over completely, taking the truck that is hauling the trailer with it.
Both the trailer and truck can land on nearby vehicles causing catastrophic damage and injuries. Once tipped over, they also become an obstacle to approaching traffic.
In addition to negligent behavior by the truck driver, rollover accidents can also be caused by the trailer being improperly loaded or by blowouts and tire defects.
When a truck driver loses control of their vehicle or fails to stay in their lane due to distraction, a head-on collision is likely to occur. The amount of force in a head-on truck accident means there is little chance for drivers of smaller vehicles. Most will suffer severe injuries if they are lucky enough to survive the crash.
Head-on truck crashes are also common at intersections as trucks running red lights may collide with vehicles attempting to complete a protected left turn.
Wide Turn Crashes
When completing right-hand turns, truck drivers may complete what is called a wide turn. For some, this involves first swinging the truck wide to the left, then turning into the right-hand turn to ensure the trailer has enough space to complete the turn.
However, when a truck driver fails to check for other vehicles in neighboring lanes, crashes can occur. In some instances, passenger cars can even become lodged under the trailer.
A safer wide turn strategy recommended by FMCSA states drivers should drive straight until they reach the farthest lane of the road onto which they are turning, then turn right into the closest available lane. This is typically seen as safer than swinging left before a right turn.
T-Bone Truck Accidents
T-bone accidents, also called broadside crashes, are very common at intersections. These are crashes in which one vehicle crashes into another that is traveling perpendicular to them, striking the side of the vehicle.
When a truck driver fails to adhere to a red light or stop sign, t-bone truck accidents can occur. These types of truck accidents pose significant risks to occupants of the smaller vehicles and may even cause the vehicle to overturn. In other instances, the force of the collision may force the smaller car into other vehicles or structures.
The final common type of truck accident is sideswipe accidents. These occur when two vehicles are traveling parallel to each other, typically in the same direction.
In most sideswipe truck crashes, the truck driver fails to see the vehicle next to them. The truck driver may fail to check their mirrors or blind spots before changing lanes or merging. They may also lose control due to a tire blowout, drift into the lane due to fatigue or inattention, or even be driven towards the lane by a strong gust of wind.
Injured in a Truck Accident? Call Thomas J. Henry Law
If you or a loved one were injured in a trucking accident, call Thomas J. Henry Law for a FREE Case Review.
No matter the cause of your truck accident, Thomas J. Henry Law has the experience and resources to handle your claim with the aggression and dedication you deserve. Do not risk your claim for compensation by waiting to file your claim. The sooner you act the better.
Call now to speak with an experienced Texas truck accident lawyer about your case.