Rollover truck accidents can cause serious injuries to vehicle occupants. Not only do occupants suffer exposure to a high degree of force, crumpling metal, and cracked windshields in a rollover, they may suffer injuries as loose items in the car fly around uncontrolled.
When big trucks lose control and suffer rollovers, on the other hand, it can cause even more catastrophic damage. Big trucks have much greater mass than smaller passenger vehicles, which can lead to crushing damage to passenger vehicles that are also involved in the accident. Not only that, when big trucks swing out of control, as in a rollover accident, they may impact many smaller vehicles around them simply by virtue of their larger size.
Conditions That Increase the Risk of Truck Rollover Accidents
One factor that increases the risk of truck rollover accidents that you cannot easily observe is poorly-loaded cargo, for example, which can cause instability in the truck and make it hard for the driver to recover after minor errors. Some conditions, however, other drivers can observe, giving them reason to exercise more caution around big trucks. These conditions include:
- High winds. When drivers fail to exercise proper care, high, straight-line winds can cause serious danger for big trucks, which sit higher off the ground and have a larger platform to catch the wind than smaller passenger vehicles. In high winds, give big trucks plenty of room on the road. Do not attempt to use trucks as a wind block, which could put you directly in line if they roll over.
- Wet or icy roads. On wet or icy roads, tires can slip off the road in the blink of an eye, especially if the trucker is driving too fast for conditions. Slick conditions can also make it harder for a driver to recover if an accident occurs. Leaving plenty of room around big trucks in slick conditions can help protect you from the possibility of a truck rollover accident.
- Inattentive drivers. When a truck driver stops paying attention to the road, he may swerve, slow down, or fail to properly acknowledge traffic signals. If you notice a truck driver behaving erratically, you may want to get your vehicle out of the way, allow plenty of room for the truck driver, and even, in some cases, call the police to notify them about a potential problem.
Avoiding Truck Rollover Accidents
Other drivers cannot always avoid truck rollover accidents, which are often caused by truck drivers themselves. Driver error contributes to as many as 87 percent of truck accidents, and in the case of a big truck rollover, truck drivers often cause those errors. However, as a driver, you can take several steps to help reduce your odds of involvement in a truck rollover accident. Consider the following pieces of advice:
- Know the locations of big trucks’ blind spots. Sitting in a big truck’s blind spot can cause that driver to miss your presence. If that driver starts to change lanes on top of you, then must react fast to prevent a sideswipe collision with your vehicle, an abrupt overreaction may cause the truck driver to drop the truck’s tires off the road, leading to a rollover accident. By staying out of that blind spot, on the other hand, you can reduce the odds of many kinds of truck accidents.
- Give big trucks plenty of extra room in poor weather conditions. When in a hurry, any driver may try to push his or her speed, regardless of the conditions. However, if you note poor weather conditions, including high winds, you should give big trucks more room on the road.
- Pay attention to shifting or loose loads. You cannot see a semi truck’s load, but you can see the load carried on flatbed trucks and tow trucks. If you notice that the load seems unstable or that the load seems to shift frequently, give the truck driver extra room on the road. Try not to drive alongside the truck if you can avoid it.
- Note your position in curves, especially by steep drops. Try not to get between a big truck and a sharp drop. You may need to slightly increase or decrease your speed as you move toward the curve to navigate it more safely.
After a Truck Rollover Accident: What Should You Do?
You got caught in the middle of a truck rollover accident. What happens next? Consider these steps to help protect you and your passengers.
Summon help to the scene of the accident. A call to 911 will summon both the police and an ambulance. When the police arrive at the scene, they will collect evidence, including witness statements, that will help establish what happened during the accident. The police will create a report about the accident. Follow all instructions given to you by first responders. You may need to move away from the scene of the accident, especially if the truck carried hazardous cargo. Tanker trucks, in particular, may carry dangerous chemicals that could ignite or cause chemical burns to accident victims.
Seek medical attention. Even if you think you did not suffer injuries in the accident, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. Some injuries can hide or have symptoms that masquerade as other things immediately after the accident. When you seek quality medical care, you will get a better idea of the full extent of your injuries and what treatment you need. Injuries from truck rollover accidents can include:
- Traumatic brain damage
- Spinal cord injury
- Burns, including chemical burns from the truck’s cargo, especially in the case of tanker trucks
- Broken bones
- Organ trauma
- Soft tissue damage
If you suffer serious injuries, make sure you follow any instructions given to you by your doctor. Do your part to increase your odds of recovery.
Contact an attorney. If you suffer injuries in a truck rollover accident, you may need a truck accident lawyer to help you file a personal injury claim and get the full compensation you deserve. An attorney can help you file a claim for your medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages from missed time at work after the accident.