What Makes California Truck Accidents So Dangerous?
Sharing the road with large commercial trucks is extremely dangerous. One wrong move could result in a devastating or deadly accident. Large trucks and 18-wheelers have many elements that can make them lethal in a motor vehicle collision. The odds of suffering catastrophic and fatal injuries are higher in a truck accident compared to a standard passenger car accident. California truck accidents are more dangerous for several reasons.
Large Vehicle Size and Weight
The number one reason why truck accidents are so dangerous is their immense size. Big rigs can weigh up to 80,000 by federal law – or even more with special overweight permits. By contrast, the standard passenger vehicle weighs an average of 3,000 to 4,000 pounds. When two vehicles collide, the heavier vehicle will carry more force than the lighter one. This means the large truck will do more damage to a smaller car in a collision.
Since a commercial truck weighs around 20 times more than a smaller car, the damage to the latter in a collision can be substantial. Many large truck accidents result in the smaller vehicle being crushed or completely obliterated. If the occupants of the smaller vehicle survive the impact, they may suffer life-changing catastrophic injuries, such as brain damage or spinal cord injuries.
Cargo Falling Into the Road
Commercial trucks that are towing trailers are often carrying a large amount of cargo. In an accident, this cargo could fall or spill out into the road, obstructing traffic and affecting numerous other vehicles. In the worst-case scenarios, dropped cargo can strike vehicles and cause severe injuries. Hazardous materials could also impact the surrounding environment, such as by causing major explosions, fires, chemical leaks or toxic fumes.
Multi-Vehicle Crash or Pileups
The immense size of a semi-truck increases the risk of a vehicle accident or pileup. If a large truck towing a trailer gets involved in an accident, the long vehicle could block multiple lanes of traffic on a freeway. This could cause many other vehicles to crash into the bed or trailer of the truck. If a large truck rolls over, which can happen if the trailer jackknifes or swings out at an angle, it could crush or crash into several vehicles at once.
Underride and Override Accidents
The disparity in vehicle size can also lead to another unique issue in truck accidents: underrides and overrides. An underride accident is when a smaller car slides or gets wedged beneath the trailer of a commercial truck. An override accident is when a big rig drives up and over a smaller car, rather than simply crashing into it. Both of these accident types have the potential to be catastrophic for the occupants of the smaller car.
In an underride accident, the trailer of the truck could shear off the top of the smaller car, potentially decapitating the driver or causing other fatal injuries. Trucks are supposed to have rear impact guards to help prevent these types of accidents. However, not all trucking companies install these guards. An override accident can crush the smaller car beneath the large truck, causing life-threatening injuries to the vehicle’s occupants. This is a possibility in a rear-end collision, when a trucker crashes into the rear of a smaller car.
Injured in a Truck Accident? Help Is Available
Truck accidents are some of the most devastating motor vehicle collisions in California. If you suffered a serious injury or a loved one lost his or her life in a California truck accident, an attorney from Rose, Klein & Marias, LLP can help you understand your legal rights. In many cases, trucking companies and their drivers are negligent, meaning they fall short of the level of care they should maintain. You may be entitled to financial compensation from the trucking company or another party for your truck accident. Request a free case consultation today to learn more.