There are many types of accidents occurring on highways, and most could happen to a tractor-trailers as well as a passenger vehicle. Of course, injuries and the aftermath are always much worse when large commercial trucks are involved.
- Head-on collisions. This typically happens when a driver is tired, distracted, or intoxicated and crosses the line separating two lanes. This move into oncoming traffic rarely gives that traffic enough time to stop; a collision is likely to occur. Head-on collisions cause some of the worst highway accidents.
- Rear-end collisions. Rear-end collisions are the most common highway tractor-trailers accidents. Trucks are much heavier and larger than other vehicles so it takes them longer to come to a full stop. When they fail to do so in time, they crash into the vehicles in front of them.
- Sideswipes. Sideswipes are most likely to happen to commercial trucks due to the fact that these trucks have very large blind spots on either side of them. When a smaller vehicle is in this blind spot and the truck driver fails to see it, he could start to move into the other lane, effectively sideswiping the other vehicle. Sideswipes can also occur when the trailer portion of a truck drifts into a lane that another vehicle is in.
- Running off-road. Trucks and other vehicles run off the road while on highways for a number of reasons. They may be trying to avoid a collision, or they may be distracted or driving under extreme fatigue. These can be multi-vehicle accidents or single-vehicle accidents.
- Jackknifing. When a tractor-trailer jackknifes, the trailer portion of the truck swings out quickly so that it ends up being at an angle to the cab instead of behind it. This can occur when a driver slams on the brakes very quickly or when the driver loses control of the truck.
- Rollovers. Rollovers are when a tractor-trailer falls on its side, involving either just the trailer portion of the truck or the whole thing. Rollovers happen when truck drivers need to stop quickly, if the load they’re carrying shifts, or if the truck driver loses control of the vehicle.
- Underride accidents. Underride accidents can be some of the scariest and deadliest for those in passenger cars. This is when a portion of a passenger vehicle gets trapped under the trailer portion of a large commercial truck. Those in passenger vehicles don’t often survive these types of accidents.
Because of their size, when transport trucks get into accidents on the highway, they’re rarely the only vehicles involved. Because people travel on highways at high speeds, things happen very quickly. Once the tractor-trailer gets into an accident, it can be difficult for other cars to stop in time before they crash too. This is how most pileups happen on highways.
Joel Rhine is recognized as one of the leading trial lawyers in Wilmington, with more than three decades of knowledge and experience in all areas of motor vehicle accidents. His successful case record includes significant settlements and jury verdicts against the state’s largest trucking and commercial delivery companies.