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When you’re on the roadways, there are a lot of risks you inherently face, but perhaps one of the most damaging are truck rollover accidents. Of the hundreds of people who die in truck crashes each year, 47% are killed because of rollover wrecks.
You can’t entirely avoid the risk of truck rollover accidents when you’re sharing the road, but there are things you can do to reduce it somewhat.
Just being cognizant of the risks of driving near large trucks is a good first step.
You should also know that if a truck is entering a curve, and you think it looks like it’s going too fast, try to slow your own speed to get behind it. You’re safer being behind a truck going around a curve than next to it on the outside.
Also, if you see a truck swerving, stay back as far as you can, and prepare yourself for the potential that you might need to stop.
Beyond that, the following are some other things to know about truck rollovers.
What Causes Most Rollovers?
The following are some of the most frequently seen causes of truck rollovers.
Speed is the single biggest contributing factor to truck rollovers. It’s involved in 45% of these accidents.
Speed is a problem because a truck’s two front wheels start going faster than the cargo being pulled, which means rollovers are more likely.
Speed is especially problematic at the curves of the road. This might include on- and off-ramps. Often a truck driver just doesn’t accurately judge a safe speed to deal with a curve.
The next most common contributor to truck rollovers is not paying attention. Anything that takes a driver’s eyes and attention off the road can create the risk of a rollover, including CB radios, phones, or driving while drowsy.
If a driver doesn’t pay attention for even a second, they might make a sudden directional change that can lead to a rollover.
The weather has a big impact on the driving ability of truckers. This is true for any driver, but big trucks have to keep traveling regardless of the weather.
Whether it’s rain, ice, or fog, these adverse weather conditions can and do increase the likelihood of a rollover accident.
High wind can impact the risk too.
Trucks have a large profile, and the winds can catch the truck leading to imbalances that then trigger rolling.
Lack of Control
When a driver doesn’t have enough control over their vehicle, there’s an increased risk of rollovers. This could mean that a driver, as an example, over-steers when changing lanes.
A change in direction that’s too sharp can create an imbalance that in turn leads to a rollover.
Some of the factors that can lead to rollovers happen before a truck actually hits the roadway.
For example, if the cargo isn’t properly loaded and secured, then a sudden shift can cause a lack of control.
A truck has a lot of components that need to work properly and work together if the truck is going to stay safe on the road.
Mechanical failures can lead to issues that cause a truck to go into a turn too fast, increasing the potential for a rollover, just as one example.
What Happens When a Truck Rolls Over?
There are a number of specific hazards that can occur when a truck rollover.
For example, if a truck rolls over, it can slide into another vehicle. It can also block the roadway, and then other vehicles may hit it.
If there’s cargo that spills it can cause slick roadways, or it can be flammable, and that can then poison the air or ignite.
Even if another vehicle doesn’t directly hit a truck that’s overturned, it can lead to secondary accidents.
For example, if you’re driving and you swerve to avoid a truck that’s overturned, then you might hit other cars. It can also be a distraction that leads other drivers to lose control.
Truck rollovers can have a disastrous or deadly fallout. As a driver, you have to understand the risks of sharing the roadways with these big trucks and do your best to avoid them when possible.
Knowing the causes of rollovers can help you somewhat, but being a defensive, mindful and cautious driver overall are the best courses of action to avoid not only rollovers but all types of accidents on the highway.