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Types of Truck Accidents
Many types of trucks, from semi-trailer trucks to tanker trucks to logging trucks, roll through the highways and roadways of Georgia. Sadly, in any motor vehicle accident involving trucks, victims often suffer severe injuries and, in some cases, death. According to the 2021 Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts report by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there were 110,000 injury-causing truck accidents and 5,149 fatal crashes on the nation’s roadways.
The gross vehicle weight of a fully loaded tanker truck or other large commercial truck is approximately 80,000 pounds. In contrast, the average weight of a standard passenger vehicle ranges from 2,500 to 6,000 pounds. Besides, some large commercial trucks not only carry hazardous cargo but also have huge steel frames that can put any smaller vehicle at a significant disadvantage. As such, in the unfortunate event of a collision with a semi-truck, significant forces are involved, creating a heightened risk for other motorists.
At Fry | Goehring, we understand that every truck accident case is deeply personal and unique. Our Atlanta truck accident lawyers have successfully represented victims and their families in these cases, helping them get the results they need to bounce back. If you or a loved one has suffered harm in a truck accident in Georgia, contact us online or call us today at 404-969-1284 to schedule a free consultation with one of our seasoned truck accident lawyers.
Most Common Types of Truck Accidents in Georgia
Every day, large commercial trucks, including logging and delivery trucks, deliver vital goods throughout Georgia and the country. Unfortunately, this heavy volume of semi-trucks and other large commercial truck traffic comes with dangerous consequences, and it’s other motorists involved who generally suffer the most harm.
According to the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, 14% of all traffic fatalities in Georgia in 2021 involved at least one large truck — a 4% increase from the previous year. Among all the serious injuries and traffic fatalities involving large trucks, a staggering 76% were occupants of other vehicles.
There are several ways a truck accident can occur. By familiarizing yourself with the different types of truck accidents in Georgia, you stand a better chance of understanding your situation and fighting for your rights after an accident.
Jackknife Truck Accidents
This type of truck accident is referred to as a jackknife accident due to the unique design of these vehicles. Semi-trucks consist of two main parts — the trailer and the cab — connected by a hitch. Jackknife truck accidents occur when the trailer and the cab lose synchronization, and the trailer continues to move along the pivoting part of the hitch while the cab remains relatively stationary. As a result, these two sections fold at the joint, creating a jackknife appearance.
Often, when a truck jackknifes, the trucker cannot control a large truck’s movement, causing the truck to drift into other lanes and potentially leading to a chain-reaction crash involving other vehicles. The most common causes of these crashes include the following:
- Brake failure
- Aggressive driving and illegal maneuvers
- Poor roads
- Locked wheels
- Loose cargo
Head-on truck accidents involving large trucks are incredibly severe and deadly, especially to occupants of smaller vehicles and motorcyclists, as they typically occur at high speeds. These crashes happen when a truck driver loses control and their 18-wheeler veers into oncoming traffic, resulting in a direct impact between the fronts of both vehicles.
Common reasons why head-on collisions occur include:
- Distracted driving
- Impaired driving
- Fatigued or drowsy driving
Rollover Truck Accidents
Rollover truck accidents are profoundly devastating. When a large truck falls onto its side, it can slide and begin to roll over, causing significant wreckage to the vehicle next to it, those passing the truck, and those in surrounding lanes. A tumbling truck causes enough damage on its own, and if cargo spills or falls off the truck, the crash can be more destructive.
Many situations can contribute to rollover truck accidents, including the following:
- Speeding or turning too fast around curves
- Driving with overweight or improperly secured cargo
- Adverse weather conditions
- Tripping up on a curb
- Changing lanes suddenly
- Steep inclines or declines
Rear-end collisions occur when another vehicle hits the back of another. Given the substantial size and weight of trucks, they require more space and time to come to a stop or maneuver away from sudden dangers.
So, if the driver in front of a truck unexpectedly slams on the brakes or makes an abrupt move, the truck driver may have a hard time slowing down or stopping the truck in time. When a truck driver follows too closely behind another vehicle, is driving too fast for prevailing road conditions, or is distracted somehow, a rear-end crash may occur.
Of course, rear-end crashes are much more destructive when they involve semi-trucks and other large commercial trucks. Even when a truck driver is not speeding, the impact of a rear-end crash can lead to catastrophic injuries, including:
- Neck injuries
- Arm and wrist injuries
- Back injuries
- Facial lacerations
- Broken bones
- Head injuries
Wide Turn Accidents
18-wheelers, box trucks, and other large commercial trucks have a wide turning radius, which means they need to make wide turns to avoid hitting other vehicles, pedestrians, light poles, sidewalks, and other features.
For truckers to make a turn, they sometimes need to swing to the left first or even cross into oncoming traffic to give themselves the turning radius needed to perform the maneuver. Truck drivers must ensure they have sufficient space or use lookouts to make the turn safely when they execute these maneuvers. Due to their huge blind spots, truck drivers frequently miss other vehicles and people, making these maneuvers extremely risky.
Wide-turn truck accidents occur when a truck driver makes a wide turn where they should not be turning, fails to account for passing vehicles, or attempts right-turn maneuvers without the necessary lookouts. Regardless of the situation, truck drivers bear the responsibility of preventing accidents. They should execute these turns properly and anticipate that other drivers might try to navigate around their slow-moving, wide-turning trucks where they can get squeezed.
Here are measures truckers should take to avoid wide-turn accidents:
- Make turns slowly
- Always use turn signals
- Watch for oncoming vehicles
Underride Truck Accidents
Underride crashes happen when a smaller vehicle is lodged underneath a big truck’s side or rear. An incident of this sort is one of the deadliest types of truck accidents and is especially scary for motorcycles and small vehicles.
When a car or motorcycle slides or skids underneath a truck, the vehicle can become stuck and may be dragged along for a couple of miles before the trucker realizes there’s a problem and stops. When this happens, the force of the impact often crumples or shears off the vehicle’s roof, seriously injuring or killing the occupants of the other vehicle.
A lack of rear underride guards, driver distraction, impairment, or fatigue can cause underrides. The Department of Transportation (DOT), which regulates the trucking industry, requires all trucks to have rear underride guards or bumpers that physically prevent smaller vehicles from sliding underneath them.
Unsecured Cargo Accidents
Truck accidents related to cargo often result from vehicles that have been overloaded or loads that are poorly secured. Trucks often move a lot of cargo, ranging from flammable liquids to hazardous chemicals to heavy materials and equipment such as logs, electronics, and construction materials. If cargo is not loaded and secured correctly, it can spill or fall off the vehicle and cause a catastrophic accident.
Truck drivers in Georgia should inspect their tires regularly before hitting the road. Neglecting tire checks can result in dangerous blowouts, especially when a truck hits the road with either underinflated or overinflated tires. These unexpected blowouts usually catch truck drivers off guard, often leading to a loss of control as they grapple to bring the vehicle to a stop. Such a truck may veer in unpredictable directions, posing an extreme risk of collision with other drivers on the road. When a truck tire blowout occurs, the repercussions can be severe due to the immense size of the truck.
Call an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer in Georgia for Free Today
Being involved in a truck accident is a life-changing experience, and it can all be overwhelming, but it’s not one that you have to go through alone. If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in a crash with an 18-wheeler, semi-truck, or other large commercial truck, consult with the knowledgeable Atlanta personal injury attorneys at Fry | Goehring as soon as possible, and before you discuss the crash or sign anything with an insurance adjuster.
At Fry | Goehring, our experienced legal team is here to help you navigate the complex, strenuous, and confusing time after a truck accident. Our truck accident lawyers in Georgia are committed to assisting you in obtaining the compensation you deserve, whether through settlement negotiations, mediation, arbitration, or trial. We understand that this is a traumatic time for you and your family, and we’ll fight for your truck accident case until there’s justice.
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