Failing To Load Cargo Properly Can Cause Truck Accidents
Commercial vehicles can weigh upwards of 80,000 pounds when fully loaded. Besides making them a lot more dangerous if they collide with smaller vehicles, this weight also puts a lot more wear and tear on the components of the trucks themselves. The number of miles driven by most commercial drivers only adds to this problem. For this reason, the brake system, the tires, the transmission, and even the frame of the truck itself should be inspected regularly and replaced if necessary. A truck’s cargo can also, however, play a big role in causing accidents in other ways. Cargo that has been stacked incorrectly, for example, will affect the center of gravity of the truck, making it much more likely that a driver will lose control of the vehicle. Unsecured cargo is also at risk of falling out or off of the truck completely, putting anyone else on the road at the same time in danger.
Top-Heavy Trailers are More Likely to Rollover
One of the most serious risks of failing to properly load truck cargo is that a top-heavy trailer is much more likely to roll over if a driver makes a sudden turn or merges quickly. This can happen when the weight in the trailer shifts too much, knocking it completely over. Strong gusts of wind increase this risk even more, making it a lot more likely that an already top-heavy trailer will tip over.
The Risk of Jackknife Accidents is Higher for Improperly Loaded Trucks
Another risk of overloading or failing to properly load a commercial vehicle is a jackknife accident. This kind of accident happens when a truck driver hits the brakes and the cab of a truck comes to a stop, but the trailer keeps going (usually because it is too heavy). Eventually the trailer swings out to a 90 degree angle. Back-heavy trailers are more likely to jackknife, especially if a driver tries to stop too suddenly or the brakes on the truck are worn out or defective.
Overloaded Brakes Can Cause Rear-End Crashes
Although the brakes of trucks are designed specifically to withstand a lot of wear and tear, even they have their limitations. When, for instance, a truck is carrying too much weight, or if the cargo was loaded over only one axle, the brakes could end up taking much longer to engage. They could even fail entirely. This can result in rear-end crashes, which are always dangerous when a large truck and smaller passenger vehicle are involved. The smaller vehicle could, for instance, actually slide underneath the much larger truck, becoming lodged underneath and resulting in catastrophic injuries.
Loose Cargo Could Block the Road
Finally, when a truck is overloaded or cargo isn’t properly secured, loose pieces of freight could fall off of a flatbed trailer, or bounce out of a closed trailer. Alternatively, if a truck rolls over, even properly secured cargo could come loose, striking other vehicles or forcing drivers to veer out of the way and into traffic.
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