What Causes Truck Underride Accidents? | Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

Underride accidents occur when a van, car, or any other smaller vehicle gets beneath the trailer of a big rig during an accident. It is easy for a trailer’s bottom-end to crush the frame of a smaller vehicle. These violent accidents often occur as a result of side impact as well as rear-end collisions. Truck underride accidents typically occur because of the following reasons:

Low visibility

Most underride accidents take place at night when visibility is at its lowest. Due to the massive size of a trailer, chances are that it will blot out some of the streetlights, creating a large silhouette in the dark with only hazy definition. Such a black shape is not easily identifiable at night, especially if a car driver is coming at a high speed.

Poor reflectors

Reflective tapes are placed on trailers on each side to catch the light of oncoming traffic and warn others. This is especially important when the truck is waiting at an intersection on the road. However, sometimes reflectors can be of poor quality and serve more as a distraction. It can get confusing when a driver notices dim light spots where there should be none. This results in the driver focusing on the lights and not the truck, which could cause a crash.

Improper turns

Truck drivers while making turns need to focus their attention on a number of aspects. A side impact crash could occur if the truck driver fails to use signals, turns too widely, or makes an improper turn. Typically, passengers get trapped under the truck in such a crash.

Sudden braking

Commercial trucks at high speed need to cover a distance equivalent to two football fields if they want to come to a complete stop. Unsuspecting motorists can rear end the truck easily even if they are at a safe distance if the trucker suddenly slams the brakes hard. This can result in an underride accident.

Poor truck maintenance

There are many factors that can lead to underride accidents. If the lighting on the truck is not properly maintained, other motorists may find it difficult to see or identify it. This is especially true during rain, fog, and snow. Brake light malfunction can also make it more difficult for other drivers to react in time if the truck brakes.

Broken guardrails

It is more likely for a passenger vehicle to slide underneath the truck when the underride guards are of low quality or have some defect. Underride accidents can be prevented with the right guardrails. Rearguards and sideguards can also help redirect or slow down smaller vehicles in an accident to prevent them from getting stuck under the truck.

Trucker errors

In some instances, it is purely the truck driver’s fault that results in an accident. The operator could be negligent by not checking blind spots while turning, speeding, or driving in a distracted manner. The driver may also be driving under the influence or may not have properly rested when underride an accident occurs.

Consult Experienced Lawyers at Shapiro & Appleton

Truck underride accidents can be brutal and result in serious personal injury. It is best to have a capable and knowledgeable attorney at your side who can explain you the most viable legal options. Learn more about protecting your interests in underride accidents with legal advice from the attorneys at Shapiro & Appleton. Call us today at (833) 997-1774 if you have been in an accident and require legal assistance.