Tractor-trailers are the large, 16-18-wheeled, multi-cargo big rigs that you see driving on the right side of the highway. Due to their sheer weight, size, and speed, any accident involving these vehicles can be deadly for anyone involved. Just a few weeks ago, an accident involving a tractor-trailer in Spartanburg cost the lives of three individuals, including a child. Understanding the risks of driving and driving near these massive vehicles can make your highway journeys safer and help you avoid catastrophic accidents.
Causes of Tractor-Trailer Accidents
Vehicles driving behind or adjacent to tractor-trailers are in great danger if something should go wrong with the large vehicle. Blown tires on big rigs are extremely common, especially on highways that permit trucks to drive at high speeds. On an 18 wheeler, a blowout might not even be noticeable to a driver; however, to the driver of a surrounding vehicle a large piece of rubber flying towards the car may cause the driver to slam on the brakes, swerve to avoid the tire, and enter other lanes of traffic. Blown tires account for thousands of accidents a year and can largely be avoided by keeping distance between your vehicle and large trucks, and realizing that rubber is likely to cause far less damage to your car than swerving or potentially getting into an accident.
Cargo, Explosions, and Other Possibilities
The type of cargo a tractor-trailer is carrying may also increase the possibility of accidents. Regardless of the type of cargo, vehicle fires are extremely common in accidents involving tractor-trailers given the amount of fuel being carried. Of course, the possibility of fire or associated explosion increases exponentially when petrol, chemicals, or other flammable substances are being carried as cargo in the tractor-trailer. It is particularly critical to keep enough distance between your vehicle and the truck in these instances, and to ensure that you stay out of the truck’s blind spot when passing. The obligation is largely on the passenger vehicle driver to watch out for the big rig; the tractor-trailer drivers are merely relying on their mirrors and what they can see, which is not a lot in comparison to those in the passenger vehicles.
Though less common, a car travelling too closely behind or to the side of a tractor-trailer may end up underneath the tractor-trailer itself, as this vehicle did in New York. This is yet another example that demonstrates the relative size between a passenger vehicle and a tractor-trailer; there really is no comparison.
South Carolina Tractor-Trailer Accident Attorneys
Nearly all accidents involving tractor-trailers will result in catastrophic injuries and damage. Regardless of whether you were the driver or passenger of a vehicle that got into an accident involving a tractor-trailer, if you were injured, you may be entitled to compensation. Trucking companies and state laws have very rigid requirements and standards for operating tractor-trailers on public roads and non-compliance with these standards may demonstrate negligence on behalf of the driver, the driver’s company, or the trucking company itself. At Solomon Law Group, our experienced tractor-trailer accidents attorneys know how to assess a trucking-related accident to determine the best approach for litigation. If you or anyone you know has been in an accident involving a big rig truck in South Carolina, contact our office today.