There are more than 400,000 truck accidents in the U.S. each year. While many of these are the result of rear-endings and poor merging technique, other causes of catastrophic crashes are rarely expected. With that in mind, here are three causes of truck accidents most drivers would never expect.
Semi-trucks create a lot of friction and if their tires aren’t properly inflated, it can lead to a collision cascade on the highway. Tire blowouts are not the same as a flat; they tend to be explosive and can be identified by a loud bang followed by pieces of the tire falling into traffic.
A blowout represents a huge problem for everyone on the road. First, a tire blowout can cause a sudden loss of control that leads to the semi-truck drifting across multiple lanes, potentially into oncoming traffic. As these incidents can happen without warning, there is no way for drivers to prepare themselves for these events and it can be extremely difficult to avoid an oncoming truck at highway speeds.
Second, the tire sidewall can go tumbling into traffic behind the truck. These tire scraps usually weigh between 50-100 pounds and can total a vehicle (or even go through the windshield) as they fly into traffic at highway speeds. The only way to prepare for this kind of accident is to increase following distance whenever you’re near a truck or quickly pass them when possible.
Because semi-truck trailers have much more surface area than the average vehicle, they are much more susceptible to being knocked over in high winds. For that reason, a majority of truck drivers choose to stay off the roads at wind speeds over 60MPH. However, some drivers take their chances and go against the wind, not realizing that a sharp gust could knock them on their side (and injure anyone driving around them).
Even lower wind speeds aren’t necessarily safe. While a fully loaded semi can withstand wind speeds as high as 55 MPH, a truck with an empty trailer or one with improper weight distribution can present a lot of problems for could be knocked over at significantly lower wind speeds.
Because trucks are so large, it takes a lot of energy to slow them down. However, if tire pressure isn’t within normal limits or the brake pads are worn down, the simple act of braking can produce enough friction to cause a fire in the wheel well. These kinds of fires are extremely difficult to put out.
While it may seem like an unlikely situation, these so-called “thermal incidents” account for about 1-in-25 truck crashes in the U.S. Moreover, these incidents can turn catastrophic for trucks hauling flammable materials as the tanker could combust if the fire isn’t put out quickly.
When someone is injured or killed in a truck crash, they and their families have a right to pursue justice. If you or someone you love have been injured and need help moving forward, our team is here for you. To discuss your case with an experienced Shreveport truck accident attorney from Morris & Dewett Injury Lawyers, don’t hesitate to send us an email or call (888) 492-5532 today.