- Head-on collisions – Vehicles hit head-on in 30 percent of truck-car crashes, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports. A head-on collision that occurs because a truck has crossed the center line may be a consequence of truck driver impairment such as drunk driving or fatigued driving. It may also be caused by distracted driving.
- Jackknifes – This accident occurs when the cab and trailer of a large truck slide toward one another like a folding pocketknife (a rotating motion technically known as a “yaw”). Drivers can jackknife their rigs by losing traction when they hit the brakes too quickly, exceed safe speeds for rain, snow, ice or a sharp turn or because of a cargo shift.
- Rollovers – Large trucks’ high center of gravity increases their risk of rolling over, particularly in curves or on highway entrance and exit ramps or because of the sudden transfer of weight in a cargo shift.
- Sideswipes – A truck that skids or yaws because of improper speed or sudden braking can depart its lane and sideswipe other vehicles. Improper lane changes or oversteering in a curve can also cause a sideswipe accident.
- Underride – Passenger vehicle occupants can be seriously injured or killed if their vehicle hits a commercial truck and, because of the height of the truck, slides under the trailer. An underride can damage or even sheer off the upper portion of a car, leaving anyone sitting upright exposed to serious harm.
Underride guards are required on the rear of most large commercial trucks, but many fail, according to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety. Underrides can occur in rear-end collisions, sideswipes and T-bone / side-impact collisions, in which vehicles collide at right angles.
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Sources / More Information
Large Trucks, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
Truck Underride, NHTSA
Large Trucks, Insurance Institute of Highway Safety