The truck driving industry has always been an industry focused around safety first, but are truck drivers truly educated on how to prevent one of the major hazards of truck driving: rollovers?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 60 percent of rollover accidents are fatal. There are over 500 large truck rollover accidents, and over 1,300 tanker rollover accidents each year in the United States.
Historically, it was assumed that rollovers most likely occurred during turns and on ramps, but this has been unfounded. Statistically, the highest occurrences of rollover truck accidents are actually on dry straight roads and highways.
It’s also been shown that over 63 percent of these rollover accidents are with partial loads.
Common Causes for Truck Rollover Accidents
Most vehicle accidents come down to the driver, driving conditions, and condition of the vehicle.
Some of the factors behind truck rollovers are:
Large trucks, particularly those hauling loads that are constantly shifting while the vehicle is moving, are more susceptible to gravity taking its toll. Once this happens, the stability of the truck can come under stress.
Also, partial loads can be more dangerous than full loads, simply because they’re more prone to shift while the vehicle is moving.
This can also happen with sudden stops and turns. The load that’s being transported can shift easily causing a rollover accident. This is why it’s important to recognize the power of gravity, and slow down when turning and maneuvering a commercial truck vehicle.
This is where driver error comes in. Speeding and distracted driving are major no-nos on the road in any type of vehicle, but particularly large commercial trucks carrying loads. This is why large trucks are expected to drive lower speeds in order to be careful in varying driving conditions.
Close-call situations while on the road can happen at any time, so it’s important for truck drivers to pay attention to speed limit signs.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 78 percent of rollover accidents are due to driver error.
- Bad Weather
Bad weather is an inevitable evil all drivers face. Yet when it comes to driving a large commercial truck, bad weather can be extremely dangerous in certain circumstances. This is why it’s important that drivers are properly trained.
For any kind of vehicle, icy roads, snow, fog, and high winds can result in a rollover accident. For a truck driver, it takes specialized training, common sense, and experience to know how to safely deal with inclement weather conditions.
Truck Rollover Prevention
Organizations such as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration have created training footage to equip cargo truck drivers with knowledge on how to prevent rollover accidents.
Some of the key things for drivers to remember are, firstly, always being alert of what’s going on with their vehicle. It’s important for truck drivers to be alert while driving and understanding the kind of load they’re transporting.
Another thing drivers should always do is make sure their truck is operating properly in general. This includes tires, brakes, and suspensions.
And lastly, remain educated! Understand how rollovers happen, and avoid circumstances where they could happen. Ultimately, an educated driver is a safe driver.