I-80 Accident Occurs Between Passenger Vehicle and Big Rig
A crash with a big rig caused minor injuries to one person in an accident on I-80 in Sacramento on September 9. The collision occurred around 10:46 a.m. along eastbound I-80 just west of the southbound Truxel Road on-ramp. The incident report by the California Highway Patrol (CHP) said that the SUV crashed into the big rig and then overturned three times.
Minor Injuries Reported After Vehicle Overturns Multiple Times
Fortunately, only minor injuries were reported in the crash. A tow truck was called to recover the vehicle, and the accident investigation is ongoing by the CHP to determine the cause.
Big Rig Crashes With Passenger Cars
Big rigs are heavier and bigger than passenger vehicles. That alone is responsible for the type of catastrophic injuries that occupants of passenger vehicles suffer. But it is more than that. A large truck is also higher than most passenger vehicles, and this leads to two other types of violent accidents that frequently occur. Let’s look into the reasons for big rig accidents and why they cause such horrific results.
Big Rigs Are Bigger and Heavier
The weight of a big rig varies. Unloaded, the semi pulling an empty trailer weighs in at about 35,000 pounds. Depending on the size and weight of the cargo, this number can escalate to around 80,000 pounds.
Imagine a truck carrying that weight hitting a passenger vehicle, which on average weighs 2,871 pounds. This type of blow, even a glancing crash, can cause debilitating injuries since the force of impact is the result of both acceleration and weight. Consider the following example. A 40,000-pound big rig that hits a solid wall at 60 mph generates the same amount of force as a passenger car weighing 4,000 pounds, hitting the wall at 600 mph. Drivers of big rigs must take all precautions to avoid hitting smaller vehicles on the road.
Height in a Big Rig Matters
Because of a big rig’s height, underride accidents with passenger vehicles are common. According to the Insurance Institute of America, two of the most horrific accidents are underride and override crashes. Underride accidents occur when a passenger vehicle passes under the truck’s carriage.
This usually causes the top of the passenger vehicle to be sheared off, exposing the upper body of the occupants to catastrophic injuries. The trucking industry was told to place underride guards strategically to prevent this from happening. Unfortunately, this is not done routinely on older vehicles. The big rig may stop suddenly or fail to maintain brake lights, causing the passenger vehicle to the rear to stop before crashing into the large truck.
Override accidents are somewhat different but with the same results. In override accidents, the truck rides over the passenger vehicle, causing it to be destroyed and frequently killing the occupants. Often, this is the fault of the trucker, who fails to stop in time to avoid this accident.
Other Reasons Big Rig Accidents Happen
Driver error is the biggest reason for big rig accidents. Some of the most common are:
- Blind spots: Because of the height, semi-trucks have blind spots. Despite having large mirrors, truck drivers cannot always see cars around them. These no-zones exist on both sides, although the right side is worse, and the front and rear. It is critical for cars to stay out of the truck’s blind spots, especially if they are going to pass.
- Wide turning radius: Since trucks are so long, they have a wide turning radius. In order to turn right, the truck must swing widely to the left to avoid hitting the curb. Passenger vehicles in the left lane may be impacted by a turning truck. Truckers must alert vehicles behind them or to their side that they are turning, giving the vehicle a chance to get out of the way.
- Speeding: This often lessens the trucker’s ability to maintain control of their vehicle, especially on a hill or around a curve.
- Distracted driving: Truckers must spend long hours behind the wheel. This can lead to texting to relieve boredom.
- Trucker fatigue: Because drivers are expected to deliver their loads as soon as possible so they can pick up others, many drivers complain of fatigue. Falling asleep behind the wheel, even for a few seconds, can lead to an accident.
Sacramento Truck Accident Lawyer
I am Ed Smith, a Sacramento truck accident lawyer. Since trucking accidents can be complex and determining liability is necessary to successfully conclude a big rig case, the help of an experienced trucking attorney is important. Call me at (916) 921-6400 or at (800) 404-5400 for free and friendly advice. You can also reach us online.
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