Semi-trucks are much bigger than passenger vehicles and, therefore, require more skill to safely operate. They are easier for drivers to lose control of, they have large blind spots, they make wide turns and they take longer to bring to a stop.
All of those factors contribute to the overall crash rate for semi-trucks, while their size and weight are what make those collisions often devastating for the people in the smaller vehicles involved. Some semi-truck crashes are very similar to other collisions, but there are also certain unique types of crashes that are only possible or much more likely when a semi-truck is involved in a wreck.
Override and underride collisions
An override crash occurs when a semi-truck strikes a passenger vehicle and ends up going over the smaller vehicle. Such collisions are quite common when a semi-truck rear-ends a passenger vehicle, for example. Underride collisions occur when passenger vehicles strike semi-trucks, often at high speeds. The force of the collision pushes the smaller vehicle under the truck, often causing catastrophic damage to the smaller vehicle when there aren’t proper guards in place.
Semi-truck drivers have to account for the possibility of unevenly distributed weight in the trailer and increased vulnerability to high winds. When going around sharp corners, driving through curves or driving in inclement weather, the truck driver could potentially lose control of the vehicle, at which point it may roll over. Such crashes can cause major damage to the semi-truck and severe damage to any other vehicles nearby at the time that the driver loses control.
Jackknife incidents are somewhat similar to rollovers. They typically occur when a truck driver loses control of the vehicle. Sharp turns and curves, as well as drastic maneuvers, might lead to a scenario in which the trailer moves in a different direction than the cab of the semi-truck. It may then block multiple lanes of traffic and strike many other vehicles nearby.
All three of these types of collisions are typically preventable when commercial drivers and the companies that employ them adhere to best practices. Connecting a recent collision to unsafe traffic behavior might help people more effectively demand financial justice after a semi-truck collision.