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What Causes Truck Rollover Accidents?

Truck rollover accidents can be devastating for the truck driver and other drivers involved in the crash. A truck that has turned on its side can no longer be controlled by the driver. It may slide into other vehicles and cause a catastrophic pileup accident. Understanding why truck rollover accidents often occur may help you understand the reason for your recent crash and serious injuries.

Truck Design

Large trucks have a higher center of gravity than standard passenger vehicles. They may be designed with narrow widths and tall heights, which can increase the odds of a rollover accident. In addition, the distribution of the truck’s cargo load can impact its center of gravity and alter its stability. A fully loaded semi-truck can become unstable due to a higher center of gravity.

Improper Driving Techniques

To combat a tractor-trailer’s naturally high center of gravity, truck drivers must exhibit total control of the truck at all times. When going around a corner, for example, the driver should slow down to help reduce the force of gravity pulling the truck’s weight in one direction. 

 Various truck driver errors can increase the risk of a rollover accident, including:

  • Speeding
  • Jerking the wheel
  • Failing to adjust to cargo weight
  • Improper braking techniques
  • Driver inattention
  • Driver fatigue
  • Inexperienced or poorly trained driver

Truck driver errors can cause truck instability, which may lead to a “jackknife” effect, where the bed or trailer of a truck swings out at an angle away from the cab. A truck in a jackknifed position cannot be controlled by the driver and is more likely to flip or roll over.

Poor Truck Maintenance

Trucking companies or private owner/operators have a legal responsibility to ensure the proper care and maintenance of their trucks. Allowing a large truck to fall into a state of disrepair can increase the odds of disasters such as rollover accidents. Failing to replace old or worn-out tires, for example, could lead to a tire blowout that “trips” a truck and causes it to roll over. Bad brakes, steering failure and engine failure can also contribute to rollover accidents.

Imbalanced Load

The proper balance of a cargo hold on a large truck is critical for the integrity of the vehicle and a driver’s ability to control the truck. Cargo that is improperly loaded, unsecured or imbalanced in the bed or trailer of a truck can cause the vehicle to tip over. Dangerous load configurations can alter the center of gravity in a large truck and decrease its stability. This can put the truck driver at a higher risk of a truck rollover accident.

Dangerous Conditions 

Our team of experience Pittsburgh truck accident attorneys have seen truck rollover accidents more likely to occur in dangerous road and weather conditions. A road that contains hazards such as potholes, cracks or debris could cause a truck to crash or turn onto its side. Wet weather such as rain or snow could cause a truck’s tires to lose traction and a loss of vehicle control. In dangerous conditions, it may be possible to hold the government responsible for failing to maintain a safe roadway.

If you or a loved one was seriously injured in a truck rollover accident in Pennsylvania, contact a Pittsburgh personal injury attorney at Dallas W. Hartman, P.C., for legal advice. One or more parties may be at fault for your accident.

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