Large commercial trucks travel all over the country and clock a lot of miles. While many truck drivers are well qualified and follow safe driving habits, other drivers are ill-equipped to drive a large tractor trailer or do not follow best practices. The latter of the two drivers often cause the most accidents, and more truck accidents than not include significant property damage and injury to the other party involved.
Types of Commercial Trucks on the Road
There are several types of commercial trucks on the road that perform specific tasks. Below are some of the most common large trucks and the dangers they may present.
Tractor Trailer Trucks
These trucks are the largest of commercial vehicles on the highway and travel mainly on interstate roads. Tractor trailer trucks carry different types of cargo and are commonly referred to as "18-wheelers," "semi-trucks," or "big rigs." These types of trucks are usually the most dangerous of commercial trucks because of their size, major blind spots, and a high center of gravity that often causes roll overs. Many 18-wheeler drivers travel long hours and can become a danger on the highway.
Dump & Garbage Trucks
Dump trucks or garbage trucks are typically seen in more residential areas and usually are most hazardous to pedestrians, bikers, and small cars. These types of trucks carry large loads of trash and waste, dirt, demolition debris, gravel, and other construction materials. Like tractor trailer trucks, dump trucks are top-heavy causing a risk of blind spots, roll-over accidents, and/or flying debris.
In many circumstances, tow trucks are owned and run by private companies. Many drivers of these 10,000 pounds trucks are inadequately trained and account for a large portion of accidents on the road involving commercial trucks.
A tanker truck is a commercial vehicle that hauls liquids or gases- many of which are classified as hazardous materials. Like other large trucks, a tanker truck's size and shape make it prone to rollovers. If a tanker truck rolls over or is in an accident, it can be extremely dangerous if the liquids or gas inside the truck are flammable, or if toxic substance fumes are released.
Flatbed trucks have a long open trailer that allows for loading and unloading cargo. Many flatbed truck accidents occur from cargo that was improperly secured and becomes dislodged from the truck, hits other cars on the road or causes multiple accidents from vehicles attempting to miss fallen objects.
Common Accidents Associated with Commercial Trucks
Weather can create extremely dangerous conditions for all that travel on the roadways especially commercial trucks like 18-wheelers. Snow, ice, rain, and fog can affect a driver's ability to drive safely and cause accidents when they lose control.
Bad Road Conditions
When roadways are not consistently maintained and are heavily trafficked, pot holes or uneven roads can make driving dangerous. Roads that are unpaved, are narrow, or do not have a shoulder can also create unsafe conditions for large trucks.
Construction areas on the highway can be very frustrating. Traffic usually becomes backed up, lanes are reduced, and many drivers try to get ahead of others in hopes to beat the rush.
Inadequate or improper training
When a truck driver is improperly trained or lacks defensive driving skills and other safety elements, there is a much greater risk of an accident on the road.
If a truck has too much weight for its load capacity, it can create tire blowouts, cause the truck to jackknife, or even tip over due to too much weight. Some vehicles that are overloaded have debris that flies out and can affect other drivers.
Unfamiliarity with road or inexperienced driving
When truck drivers are not familiar with troublesome routes or are not prepared for curvy, rough, or narrow roads, they can quickly lose control of the truck, causing disastrous consequences.
Poor Maintenance or Mechanical Issues
With any vehicle on the road, poor maintenance or mechanical issues can cause many problems. A large, commercial truck with worn out tires or degraded brakes can cause a driver to lose control and cause major accidents. All trucks should keep a maintenance log where all checks are documented. A truck company can be held responsible for property damage and injuries after an accident if their faulty equipment is found to blame.
Negligent driving includes a lot of activities that distract from good driving habits. Some unsafe and careless driving habits include:
- driver fatigue
- driver distraction due to texting, talking, using other electronic devices
- driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- aggressive driving, road rage
- frequent lane changes
- failure to check for blind spots before changing lanes
- failure to use proper turn signals and improper turning
- not obeying traffic laws
South Carolina Truck Accident Attorneys
Because large commercial trucks like 18-wheelers, tankers, and others have the potential for major accidents and injuries, it is important to know your rights if you are hit by one of these vehicles. If the truck is negligent and at-fault, the company may be responsible for your property damage and your injuries. It is also important to contact an experienced truck accident attorney that knows the laws of the state and how to handle difficult insurance companies.
Have You Been Injured In A South Carolina Area Truck Accident?
If you or a loved one was injured in a commercial truck accident in South Carolina, you should speak with a truck accident lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our Charleston, South Carolina office directly at 843.488.2359 to schedule your consultation. We are also able to meet clients at our Conway, Myrtle Beach, Murrells Inlet, Mt. Pleasant, North Myrtle Beach or North Charleston office locations.