Regardless of the exact cause of a semi-truck accident, there are six types of accidents that tend to occur more frequently when commercial vehicles are involved.
- Jackknifed Trailer: When the coupling, the device that attaches the cab and trailer, fails or when the trailer gets thrown off balance, the trailer can swing out perpendicular to the bed, much like a folding knife. A jackknifing trailer can crash into cars in adjacent lanes and cause widespread damage and injuries.
- Runaway Truck: A moving 40-ton semi-truck a lot of momentum. If the driver loses the ability to control or slow the truck, its momentum will carry it down the road demolishing anything in its path. Runaway trucks are more common in mountainous terrain, but they can also happen on flat ground, especially if there are weather hazards such as heavy rains, sand, or rocks.
- Rollovers: Semi-trucks have high centers of gravity, which makes them prone to tipping over if drivers take turns or curves at too high a speed. High winds, over corrections, and evasive maneuvers can also lead to rollovers.
- Override: A rear-end collision with two cars may only be a minor fender-bender, but when a semi-truck rear-ends a smaller car, the truck may actually drive onto the back of the car. In the worst cases, the truck will crush the rear seats, which is usually deadly for any passengers.
- Underride: An underride, the reverse of an override, is when a car crashes into the back of a truck. In such cases, the front ends of smaller vehicles can become wedged underneath the truck’s rear wheels, often killing drivers and front-seat passengers.
- Cargo Spill: Commercial vehicles often haul cargo that is as large as the other cars on the road (or the cargo might be actual cars!). If cargo is improperly secured or overloaded, it can fall off of the trailer during transit and cause massive devastation on the road.