A rollover accident occurs when a vehicle’s wheels lose contact with the road and the vehicle tips over and can even continue to roll for multiple revolutions. Rollover accidents can happen to almost any type of vehicle, but when a large truck is involved in a rollover accident, the effects can be catastrophic for not only the truck driver, but other drivers near by.
Here are some of the more common reasons why rollover truck accidents occur:
- Steering abruptly to avoid a hazard: Experienced truck drivers are often very skilled when it comes to avoiding hazards or other accidents. In many cases, trucking accidents occur because other drivers on the road have made mistakes. Unfortunately, it’s not always possible for a large truck driver to avoid an accident at the last second. Quick steering motions could cause too much instability for the truck to remain firmly planted on the road.
- Speeding too quickly around a curve: When a rollover accident is the fault of the truck driver, the accident usually takes place on a curve and happens because of high speeds. Large trucks cannot navigate tight curves like other passenger vehicles can, and they cannot drive as quickly around curves. If a truck driver speeds too quickly around a tight curve, this increases the chance that the acceleration of the vehicle will cause it to lose balance.
- Road conditions: Slippery roads are dangerous for all vehicles, but with trucks, there is an increased possibility of a rollover. A wet road increases the likelihood of hydroplaning, which is what happens when a vehicle’s wheels lose contact with the road surface and slide across the water. When there is ice on the road, it’s possible for vehicles to lose traction very easily. When a truck encounters these road conditions, there is an increased chance that the vehicle will become so unstable that it tips over.
- Poor road planning: When a road is configured, designers are supposed to make sure that vehicles have enough time and space to brake or steer in the appropriate direction. If a road cannot be configured so that trucks can safely drive on it, this increases the chance that a large truck will experience a rollover. Insufficient road configuration is often seen on highway entrance or exit ramps, particularly when vehicles are required to change lanes quickly. Poor planning may also be the result of a hasty construction job.
- Improper cargo loading: Finally, it’s possible for a rollover accident to be caused by improper loading of cargo. If cargo is loaded carelessly and there is substantially more weight on one side of the truck — or if cargo has not been secured and is able to shift places while the vehicle is in motion — this is a big problem for trucks. Sudden changes in weight distribution can cause a truck to tip over, especially when driving around a curve.
Rollover accidents are not always preventable, but some of these common causes can be the result of a negligent party not taking the proper care to avoid an accident. If you’ve been involved in a rollover accident, it may prove important to discuss your situation with an experienced DC truck accident lawyer. They may be able to help determine if another party was acting negligently, and if you have the right to compensation. Contact an experienced lawyer today if you suspect you or a loved one was injured by someone else’s negligence in a truck rollover accident.
Thanks to our friends and co-contributors from Cohen & Cohen, P.C. for their added insight into trucking/rollover accidents.