Truck rollover accidents can be devastating. They are also among the most common type of accidents involving trucks. An estimated 1 in every 10 truck accidents is a rollover accident. Trucks roll over when their wheels are no longer in contact with the surface of the road. The truck then goes out of control and is turned upside down or on its side.
Rollovers occur as a result of centrifugal forces that cause the truck’s body to lean in the opposite direction to the curve it is moving along. Because most of the weight of the truck is leaning away from the curve, the truck becomes unstable.
There are a number of causes for these type of accidents, but the following are the most common causes as determined by traffic experts and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
- Driving at high speed
This is the most common cause for rollover accidents. 45% of rollovers occur when trucks are at high speed. Rollovers caused by high speed often occur on highways where trucks are being driven at speeds higher than what they are allowed to. The likelihood of their occurrence is even higher when conditions on the roads are dangerous e.g. when it is raining or snowing.
Drivers sometimes make sharp steering changes suddenly when trying to avoid other vehicles or an obstacle on the road. Oversteering is also another common cause of rollovers. Drivers often oversteer when driving trucks off road or on sand. They rely on large steering movements that can cause large or sharp changes in lateral force. The vehicle then rolls over.
- Driving errors
Drivers often make errors on the road and some of them result in rollover accidents. Driver errors include driving in poor weather conditions, driving while sick or tired or even taking a curve too sharply.
- Poor loading or securing of cargo
The position of the center of gravity plays an important role in the stability of the truck. The center of gravity shifts as the vehicle moves especially around corners. When loads are not placed properly or secured, they can cause an imbalance and therefore increase the chances of the truck tipping over.
Rollover accidents are scary. They can result in serious injuries and can be fatal to both pedestrians and other motorists. They also cause damage to the cargo they are carrying and other property in the area. If you’ve been seriously hurt in a rollover accident, please contact an experienced truck accident lawyer to help you with your claim.