Types Of Truck Accidents [2024 Complete Guide]

Common Types of Truck Accidents: Causes, Injuries, & Prevention Tips

On this page, we’ll provide an overview of the common types of truck accidents, causes of various truck accidents, frequently reported injuries of truck accidents, preventative strategies to avoid truck accidents, and much more.

General Causes, Injuries, & Tips for Preventing Truck Accidents

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), “Commercial Trucks are often 20 to 30 times heavier than passenger vehicles”

The ability to identify common types of truck accidents could make all the difference in your safety on the road.

Types of Truck Accidents Complete Guide to Truck Accidents

The following types of truck accidents most commonly experienced on our roadways include:

  1. Rollover Accidents: Trucks with high centers of gravity, like tankers and cargo trucks, can tip over due to sharp turns, uneven terrain, or sudden shifts in weight.
  2. Jackknife Accidents: These occur when a truck’s trailer swings out, forming an angle with the cab, often during sudden braking.
  3. Rear-End Collisions: When a truck fails to stop in time, it can strike the vehicle in front, leading to severe rear-end collisions.
  4. Blind Spot Accidents: Large trucks have significant blind spots or “No Zones” around their perimeter.
  5. Interstate Truck Accidents: Accidents involving trucks on interstate highways often result from high speeds, long-distance driving fatigue, or complex traffic patterns.
  6. Wide Turn Accidents: Trucks making wide turns can collide with vehicles in adjacent lanes or pedestrians due to their size and length requirements for turning​​.

If you have been injured in any of the various types of trucking accidents at no fault of your own, an experienced personal injury attorney from Torhoerman Law may be able to help you.

Frequently Asked Questions

The most common types of truck accidents include jackknife, truck rollovers, tire blowouts, wide turns, blind spots, rear-end collisions, under-ride accidents, and lost loads.

These accidents can be caused by various factors, including driver negligence, mechanical failures, and poor weather conditions.

The most frequent type of vehicle accident in the trucking industry is a rear-end collision.

These types of accidents are often caused by distracted driving, speeding, tailgating, impaired driving, or driver fatigue, leading to serious damages and injuries and highlighting the need for strict safety practices among truck drivers.

While averages can provide a generalized understanding, the value of a truck accident settlement is heavily dependent on the unique circumstances of each case.

The severity of injuries, specifics of the accident, state laws, and involved insurance policies all play a significant role in the final settlement amount.

The most common parties facing liability in a truck accident include the truck driver, the trucking company, any maintenance or repair companies, and the manufacturer.

Negligence is often the most common cause of truck accidents.

Table of Contents

Common Types of Truck Accidents: Prevention Tips

1) Rollover Accidents

A rollover accident commonly involves a large truck, such as a commercial semi-trailer or 18-wheeler, tipping over onto its side or roof due to a sudden shift in its center of gravity.

These technological innovations have saved countless lives by assisting the driver in maintaining control of their vehicles in potentially dangerous conditions to address the common factors in rollover accidents.

Types of Truck Accidents Rollover Accidents

Systems commonly used by commercial trucks to prevent rollover accidents include:

  • Electronic Stability Control (ESC): Detects loss of steering control and applies brakes to prevent skidding and maintain vehicle stability.
  • Blind Spot Detection: Alerts drivers to vehicles in blind spots during lane changes, enhancing safety.
  • Active Suspension Systems: Adjusts suspension in response to vehicle roll, enhancing stability.

General Causes of a Rollover Accident

A rollover accident may also occur if a truck’s center of gravity shifts unexpectedly and results in the vehicle tipping over onto its side.

Rollover accidents may be caused by several scenarios including:

  1. Type of Truck: The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reports that approximately 5% of truck accidents involve rollovers. The types of trucks most prone to rollers are 18-wheelers due to their size and load distribution
  2. High Rates of Speed: About 40% of fatal rollover crashes involved excessive speeding, and 75% of fatal rollovers occurred where the speed limit was 55 mph or higher.
  3. Tire Grip: The impact of tire failure causing a roller accident is amplified for large commercial trucks due to the vehicle’s size, load, and total miles driven.
  4. Road Location: The FMCSA indicates that the majority of fatal large truck crashes, including rollovers, often occur in rural areas and on Interstate highways, with about 54% of all fatal crashes involving large trucks occurring in rural areas.

Rollover Accident Prevention: Human Errors

The element of human error plays a significant role in causing a rollover truck accident:

  • Steering Over-correction: Driver error contributes to 18-wheeler rollovers, such as failure to control the truck in challenging road situations​.
  • Driver Exhaustion: Driver inadvertently dozing or falling asleep can lead to sudden changes in direction, causing rollovers​.
  • Load Balance: The weight and height of the load influence the truck’s balance, and improper loading can lead to rollovers.

2) Jackknife Accidents

Jackknife accidents involve commercial semi-trailers when the trailer folds toward the cab due to slippery roads, improper braking, equipment failure or a number of other various factors and conditions.

The NHTSA estimates that around 10 percent of all truck-related crashes involve a jackknife scenario, emphasizing its noteworthiness among truck accident claims.

Passengers and truck drivers involved in a jackknife accident often report:

  • Spinal Column Injuries: Injuries to the spinal column can potentially develop into long-term disabilities such as paralysis, chronic pain, respiratory problems, bladder and bowel dysfunction, and loss of sensation in certain parts of the body.
  • Paralysis: This can occur due to severe damage to the spinal cord, leading to partial or complete loss of movement and sensation in certain parts of the body.
  • Concussions and Traumatic Brain Injuries: These injuries result from the forceful impact and can have lasting effects on cognitive function, memory, and emotional well-being.
  • Other Serious Injuries: These can include fractures, internal injuries, and lacerations, each carrying its own set of long-term complications and recovery challenges.

Jackknife accidents stand out each year as one of the highest fatality rates among all types of truck-related accidents.

General Causes of a Jackknife Accident

The frequent causes of jackknife accidents include, but are not limited to:

  1. Braking Issues: Hard or sudden braking can cause wheel lock and lead to jackknifing; gradual braking is advised to maintain control.
  2. Equipment Failure: Brake failures and tire blowouts are major causes of jackknife accidents; regular checks can help mitigate these risks.
  3. Driver Error: Mistakes like distracted driving and fatigue can escalate into a jackknife; proper training is crucial for accident prevention.
  4. Road Conditions: Slippery conditions and curvy roads increase the risk of jackknifing due to reduced traction and shifting trailer weight.
  5. Improper Loading: Uneven or secured cargo can cause imbalance, making trucks prone to jackknifing; correct loading is required in order to maintain stability.

Preventing & Avoiding a Jackknife Accident

Preventative safety strategies to avoid a jackknife accident include:

  1. Driver Training: Training drivers in correct braking techniques and response strategies is vital for preventing panic braking and maintaining control of the trailers behind them.
  2. Regular Maintenance: Ensuring brakes, tires, and steering mechanisms are well-maintained prevents equipment failures, reducing the risk of jackknife accidents.
  3. Load Management: Properly loading and securing cargo is key for balanced weight distribution, which helps maintain truck stability.
  4. Innovative Technologies: Advanced safety systems like electronic stability control and blind spot detection assist truck drivers in avoiding dangerous situations.

The danger that jackknife accidents pose to other vehicles on the road accelerates the urgency of developing preventive strategies and advanced safety technologies to ensure the safety of our roads.

3) Rear-End Collisions

A rear-end collision occurs when one vehicle crashes into the back of another.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports rear-end collisions make up a staggering 28% of all reported car accidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Causes of a Rear-End Collision Involving a Large Truck

The common factors leading to a rear-end collision typically include:

  • Tailgating or following too closely;
  • Distracted driving, such as texting;
  • Sudden stops by the leading vehicle.

Even with cautious driving, rear-end collisions can occur, sometimes involving multiple cars in chain-reaction scenarios.

Poor Visibility Conditions: Increased Risk of Rear-End Collisions

Conditions that elevate the risk of rear-end collisions:

  • Heavy rain or fog;
  • Bright sunlight; and
  • Driving at night.

4) Blind Spot Accidents

Large trucks have significant blind spots around their perimeter, particularly on the right side and rear, where the driver’s vision is obstructed.

General Causes of a Blind Spot Accident

Drivers can reduce the risk of causing a blind spot accident by:

  • Staying out of truck blind spots: The best rule of thumb is if you cannot see the truck driver’s reflection in their side mirror, the driver cannot see you. You are likely in the driver’s blind spot and should reposition your vehicle​​.
  • Truck drivers must check blind spots: Truck drivers should ensure they can see the vehicles around them, as their large mirrors may not fully eliminate blind spots​​.

A blind spot accident can lead to severe injuries or fatalities, emphasizing the need for awareness and caution.

Preventing Blind Spot Accidents

Blind spot accidents often occur due to:

  • Insufficient monitoring: Failure by truck drivers to adequately check blind spots.
  • Vehicle positioning: Other vehicles driving in a truck’s blind spot for extended periods.
  • Maneuvering errors: Sudden lane changes or turns by either the truck or surrounding vehicles.

5) Interstate Truck Accidents

Accidents involving trucks on interstate highways often result from high speeds, long-distance driving fatigue, or complex traffic patterns.

Preventing Interstate Truck Accidents

Effective measures to prevent an interstate truck accident includes:

  • Proper rest for truck drivers: Ensuring truck drivers have adequate rest is vital to combat fatigue during long trips.
  • Leaving enough distance: Maintaining a safe distance from trucks is crucial as they require more time to stop due to their weight​​.
  • Awareness of traffic patterns: Understanding and anticipating traffic flow helps in preventing accidents.
  • Speed control: Maintaining safe speeds is crucial for truck drivers on interstates.
  • Avoid abrupt stops in front of trucks: Abruptly stopping in front of a truck can lead to severe accidents due to their longer stopping distances​​.

An interstate truck accident requires careful analysis to establish fault and liability.

Determining Liability in an Interstate Truck Accident

The process of assigning fault and determining liability of an interstate truck accident involves:

  • Investigating the accident scene: Gathering evidence from the site to understand the crash dynamics.
  • Reviewing driver logs and vehicle maintenance records: Ensuring compliance with driving hours and vehicle upkeep.
  • Analyzing witness statements and traffic camera footage: Collecting third-party accounts and video evidence for a clearer picture of the events.
  • Considering multiple parties for liability: This may include the truck driver, other vehicles involved, the trucking company, the truck owner, those who leased the truck, and manufacturers if defective parts caused the accident​​.
  • Seeking legal assistance: Hiring a personal injury lawyer can be crucial for an independent investigation and ensuring all relevant evidence is preserved through methods like spoliation letters​​.

6) Wide Turn Accidents

Wide turn accidents typically occur when a driver makes a turn from a lane not specifically designated for turning.

These accidents are especially common with large commercial trucks due to their size and maneuverability constraints

Wide Turn Accidents Involving Commercial Trucks

This not only poses a risk to other road users but also the truck driver themselves.

Here are a few key factors involving wide turn accidents:

  • Truck Wide Right Turn Accident: Truck drivers must navigate right turns carefully due to their vehicle’s size.
  • Truck Wide Left Turn Accident: Similar to right turns, left turns by large trucks require precision and caution
  • Negligence can increase risk: If a truck driver is reckless or negligent, the risk of a wide turn accident significantly increases.

Wide-turn accidents typically occur in urban areas with tight corners and busy intersections.

Determining Fault in a Wide Turn Accident

The driver making the wide turn is usually considered at fault, however, there are exceptions.

Determining liability of wide turn accidents includes:

  • Speeding or red light running can shift blame: If the other driver was speeding or ran a red light, they may be held partially or fully responsible for the accident.
  • Fault can be shared: In certain cases, fault can be shared between the drivers involved in the accident.

For personalized guidance in any of these types of truck accidents, use our chat feature on this page to connect with an experienced Truck Accident Attorney at Torhoerman Law.

General Causes of Truck Accidents

The general causes of a truck accident often involve driver-related factors such as fatigue, driving while intoxicated, reckless driving, and distracted driving.

Truck accidents are often catastrophic and result in a high fatality rate according to NSC Injury Facts, who reported a total of 5,700 large trucks involved in a fatal crash in 2021, representing an 18% increase from the previous year, and a 49% increase in the last 10 years.

Truck accidents often happen due to various reasons, such as:

  • Distracted Driving: Like other motorists, truck drivers can be distracted by phones or in-cab entertainment systems.
  • Driver Fatigue: Long hours behind the wheel without sufficient rest can impair judgment and reaction times.
  • Equipment Malfunction: Mechanical issues, such as brake failures, can lead to accidents.
  • Adverse Weather Conditions: Rain, snow, and fog can reduce visibility and make roads slippery.
  • Inadequate Training: Inexperienced or poorly trained truck drivers are more likely to be involved in accidents.
  • Poor Road Conditions: Potholes and uneven surfaces can contribute to accidents.
  • Failure to Maintain Safe Distance: Tailgating or not maintaining a safe following distance can lead to rear-end collisions.

For personalized guidance in any of these types of truck accidents, use our chat feature on this page to connect with an experienced Truck Accident Attorney at Torhoerman Law.

Frequent Injuries Reported in Truck Accidents

Truck accidents can result in various injuries.

It’s important for truck drivers and other motorists to be aware of this.

Some of the most common injuries include:

1) Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs)

Truck accidents can result in very serious injuries, with traumatic brain injury (TBI) being one of the most severe.

A TBI occurs when the head experiences a sudden impact or violent jolt, causing damage to the brain.

Symptoms can range from mild to severe, including cognitive impairments, memory loss, and even comas.

Treatment and recovery for TBIs can be lengthy, and patients may require extensive rehabilitation.

2) Spinal Cord Injuries

Truck accidents often lead to spinal cord injuries, which can have life-altering consequences.

These injuries may result in partial or complete paralysis, affecting a person’s ability to move and perform daily activities.

Rehabilitation and ongoing medical care are typically necessary for spinal cord injury victims.

3) Broken Bones

The force of a truck accident can cause bone fractures in various parts of the body.

Broken bones can range from minor fractures that heal quickly to complex fractures requiring surgery and extended recovery periods.

4) Whiplash

Whiplash is a common injury in truck accidents, especially for occupants of smaller vehicles.

It occurs when the head is forcefully whipped back and forth, causing strain and damage to the neck’s soft tissues.

Whiplash may seem like a minor injury, but it can be quite painful and uncomfortable, requiring medical attention and rehabilitation.

It is important for truck accident victims to seek treatment for this injury.

5) Internal Organ Damage

The sheer impact of a truck accident can cause internal organ damage, which may not be immediately apparent.

This can be life-threatening and require prompt medical intervention, especially if organs such as the liver, spleen, or kidneys are affected.

It’s essential to recognize that these injuries can vary in severity, and the road to recovery may be long and challenging.

Truck accident victims often face substantial medical bills, ongoing treatment, and rehabilitation costs.

Seeking immediate medical attention after an accident is crucial, even if injuries initially seem minor.

Additionally, consulting with an experienced truck accident attorney can help victims pursue personal injury claims to obtain the compensation they need for their recovery and well-being.

For personalized guidance in any of these types of truck accidents, use our chat feature on this page to connect with an experienced Truck Accident Attorney at Torhoerman Law.

Types of Truck Accidents on The Road

The typical types of trucks you would find on the road can be classified into several types, largely distinguished by the type of cargo they transport.

1) Semi-Trucks

Semi-trailer trucks, also known as semi-trucks, 18-wheelers, tractor-trailers, and big rigs, are among the most common types of trucks seen on the road.

Key characteristics of semi-trailer trucks include:

  • Capable of hauling large and heavy loads.
  • Composed of a tractor unit and one or more semi-trailers.
  • Used for long-haul freight transport.

The versatility and power of semi-trailer trucks make them a staple in the freight transport industry.

2) 18-Wheelers

The term “18-wheeler” refers to the number of wheels on these trucks, which includes both the tractor and the trailer.

Essentially, they are a subtype of semi-trucks, often used for long-distance shipping.

Their large cargo capacity makes them vital for transporting goods across vast distances efficiently.

3) Flatbed Trucks

Flatbed trucks are another common type of truck on the road.

Notable features of flatbed trucks are:

  • Open design with no roof or sides.
  • Ideal for transporting oversized loads or goods that require easy loading and unloading from the sides.
  • Manufactured in different sizes, with most trailers being about 48 feet long.

Flatbed trucks offer the much-needed flexibility for hauling various types of cargo.

4) Delivery Trucks

You’ll often come across delivery trucks in urban areas and local communities.

These smaller trucks are designed for shorter trips and local deliveries, making them a common sight in neighborhoods and near businesses.

Whether they’re transporting food, fuel, or furniture, trucks are a vital part of our everyday lives.

For personalized guidance in any of these types of truck accidents, use our chat feature on this page to connect with an experienced Truck Accident Attorney at Torhoerman Law.

Tips to Prevent Different Types of Truck Accidents

By following these steps, both truck drivers and other motorists can contribute to safer roads and a reduced risk of accidents involving large trucks.

Here are a few tips to follow in order to prevent truck accidents:

  • Avoiding Distractions: Stay focused, avoiding activities like texting or phone use while driving.
  • Maintaining Safe Distance: Keep a safe distance from trucks, allowing for enough stopping distance.
  • Properly Securing Cargo: Make sure to load and secure cargo properly to stop it from shifting.
  • Proper Maneuvering Techniques: Use proper turning signals, check blind spots, and make safe lane changes to avoid accidents.

Distracted Driving Awareness: Truck Accidents

We categorize these distractions into three (3) types:

  1. Visual: taking your eyes off the road;
  2. Manual: removing your hands from the wheel; and
  3. Cognitive: diverting your mind from driving.

For personalized guidance in any of these types of truck accidents, use our chat feature on this page to connect with an experienced Truck Accident Attorney at Torhoerman Law.

Steps to Take After a Truck Accident

After a truck accident, taking the right steps is essential to protect your well-being and legal rights.

Consider the following steps after being involved in a truck accident:

  1. Ensure Safety: Your personal safe move to a safe location if possible.
  2. Seek Medical Attention: Even if you feel fine, get a medical evaluation. Some injuries may not immediately manifest, and prompt medical records can be crucial later.
  3. Document the Scene: If it’s safe, document the accident scene with photographs and notes. Gather witness information as well.
  4. Contact Authorities: Report the accident to the police and ensure an official report is filed.
  5. Contact Your Insurance Company: Notify your insurance company about the accident. Avoid admitting fault or providing a recorded statement.
  6. Consult a Truck Accident Lawyer: Our team at TorHoerman Law is devoted to supporting victims of truck accidents. We specialize in protecting their rights and pursuing the compensation they deserve.
  7. Preserve Evidence: Your attorney will help gather and preserve evidence, including truck maintenance records, driver logs, and any relevant data from the truck’s black box.
  8. Review Insurance Policies: Understand your insurance coverage and consult your attorney on your claim’s best course of action.
  9. Avoid Speaking to Trucking Companies: Refrain from discussing the accident with the trucking company representatives without your lawyer’s guidance.
  10. File a Lawsuit: TorHoerman Law is well-versed in handling a variety of truck accident cases and committed to safeguarding your rights to compensation for your injuries.

For personalized guidance in any of these types of truck accidents, use our chat feature on this page to connect with an experienced Truck Accident Attorney at Torhoerman Law.

Hiring a Truck Accident Lawyer: TorHoerman Law

Our attorneys specialize in all types of trucking accidents to assist you with the challenges of gathering evidence, negotiating with insurance companies, and fighting in court.

  1. Experience – We have a deep understanding of truck wide right turn accident cases and the legal intricacies involved.
  2. Personal Approach – Every case is unique. We give each client personalized attention, focusing on their specific needs.
  3. No-Win, No-Fee – You only pay if we win. This shows our commitment to getting you the best outcome.

For personalized guidance in any of these types of truck accidents, use our chat feature on this page to connect with an experienced Truck Accident Attorney at Torhoerman Law.

Tor Hoerman

Tor Hoerman

Owner & Attorney - TorHoerman Law


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