Why 18 Wheelers Crash: Common Causes and Statistics

Truck on freewayThe size of semi trucks or 18-wheelers makes them dangerous on the road, especially for smaller passenger cars. A collision with an 18-wheeler can wreck a car or send it spinning into traffic. In some cases, passenger cars can get crushed under the carriage.

In the most recent year for which statistics are available, 4,213 large trucks were involved in crashes in which someone was killed, a 3% increase from the prior year. The number of total accidents between passenger cars and large trucks? A quarter of a million.

Let’s look at some of the most common types of accidents.

1. Jackknife

A jackknife refers to an 18-wheeler turning in an L shape, or the shape of an open jackknife, with one half twisting to become perpendicular to the other. Jackknife accidents occur when the truck is going too fast to stop: the brakes lock, causing half of the truck to turn. Jackknife accidents can be exacerbated by improper loading.

It’s important to note that causes of a jackknife accident are not simple. The driver may be speeding, but jackknifes can also be caused by other vehicles cutting in front of an 18-wheeler, forcing them to stop. Drivers need to be very cautious in giving 18-wheelers room to stop, because these trucks take longer to stop than other types of vehicles.

2. Rollovers

Truck rollovers are most often caused by speeding, often when the truck is turning. The cabs of 18-wheelers are very high, making the center of gravity very high. If the center of gravity is upset, the truck can roll. Rollovers can also be caused by improper loading of cargo, or a combination of those two factors.

A rollover can spread debris around the roadways, creating a dangerous obstacle course on the highway for other motorists.

3. Underrides

Some of the most devastating crashes on our roadways occur when cars go underneath the body of an 18-wheeler truck. These types of accidents are called “underrides”. They can be caused if a car is following a truck too closely to stop in time, or if a truck comes to an abrupt stop.

Underrides can be catastrophic for the car’s occupants, as the car can be crushed by the weight of the truck.

18 wheeler accident lawyer Lafayette LA

Accidents involving 18-wheelers, whether in Baton Rouge, Lafayette, or elsewhere in Louisiana, can cause severe injuries and deaths. If you or a loved one has been involved in a truck accident in Louisiana, you need an experienced 18 wheeler accident lawyer Baton Rouge residents rely on to fight aggressively for their rights and pursue maximum compensation.

The Bart Bernard Injury Lawyers has extensive experience litigating big rig accidents. Your initial consultation with an 18 wheeler accident lawyer in Louisiana is free of charge and comes with no obligation. Call today, and remember: Hit Hard with Bart Bernard™.

Additional Resources:

  1. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts 2016. https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/data-and-statistics/large-truck-and-bus-crash-facts-2016.
  2. Nationwide. How to Share the Road with Semi Trucks. https://blog.nationwide.com/driving-near-trucks-highway/



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