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  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger II

What Can You Do to Avoid Underride Accidents? – Expert Recommendations

People on the road must adhere to special practices, such as wearing seat belts, to make their driving safe and reduce the risk of fatal crashes.

However, commercial vehicle operators must take extra care to avoid catastrophic accidents that result in fatalities or severe injuries.

Unfortunately, the number of truck crashes has increased in recent years, particularly underride accidents. Although drivers are required to follow safety precautions and make sure these large vehicles are in excellent condition to avoid collisions, many fail to comply with authorities' regulations and recommendations.

A few drivers and trucking companies are also negligent and put other people's lives at risk due to their reckless actions.

However, underride accidents don't need to happen and are nearly always preventable. Here are a few tips for truck drivers to avoid these crashes. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can also provide insight on what you can do to avoid blind spot accidents.

What Is an Underride Accident?

An underride accident is a type of crash involving massive commercial vehicles. When these collisions occur, a smaller passenger car ends up underneath the truck.

As trucks are taller than cars and sit higher off the road, underride collisions can be devastating for passenger vehicle occupants.

This significant difference in height and weight between a large commercial truck and an automobile creates a dangerous structural incompatibility that makes smaller vehicles more vulnerable to catastrophic outcomes.

In a truck underride accident, the potential for a fatality is quite high and alarming. These collisions often happen when passenger vehicles hit the back of the truck, and there are issues with the underride guard – there is not one in place, or it is faulty.

Overall, truck underride crashes take the form of the following:

  • A front underride crash involving a tractor-trailer backing into and over another vehicle

  • A side underride, also known as a side-impact collision, involving a car sliding under the side of the semi-truck trailer

  • A rear underride collision involving a car sliding under the back of the commercial truck trailer

In all cases, the result is usually the same: the smaller vehicle gets pulled under the rear wheels and crushed, or the truck cuts off the top of the passenger vehicle.

Common Causes of a Truck Underride Crash

Common Causes of a Truck Underride Crash

Many factors and actions can cause truck underride crashes, but these are the most common:

  • Slick roads

  • Adverse weather conditions

  • Brake failure

  • Driver distraction or inattention

  • Driver fatigue

  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol

  • Failure to signal a lane change

  • Speeding

Regardless of the cause, underride accidents can be fatal, causing life-threatening injuries or death. Even people who survive a catastrophic crash may have to deal with lifelong pain and treatment after this collision.

Common Injuries Caused by an Underride Crash

These are the most common injuries for truck underride victims:

  • Amputation

  • Traumatic brain injuries

  • Spinal cord injuries

  • Loss of or damage to organs

  • Head injuries

  • Back injuries

Besides causing long-term pain and affecting people's lives, these injuries often require expensive treatment.

It is unfair for victims to deal with these awful consequences if the accident resulted from someone else's negligence. Therefore, those who have been injured in a truck underride accident should seek help from an attorney to hold at-fault parties accountable for their careless actions.

Can a Truck Driver Avoid an Underride Accident?

Can a Truck Driver Avoid an Underride Accident?

Although no system can prevent all underride accidents, truck drivers can minimize the risk through safe driving. Small investments can also help trucking companies and operators avoid these crashes.

Ideally, truck drivers should consider the following options:

Underride Protection Devices

The truck's owner or operator can install rear underride guards to reduce the risk of accidents. They are metal bars that hang from the back of the truck and create a barrier that prevents smaller cars from sliding underneath the commercial vehicle in the event of a rear-end collision.

While the current federal law does not require truck operators to install side underride guards, these protection devices can also stop passenger cars from sliding underneath large commercial vehicles.

However, underride accidents occur even if trucks have these guards. The primary issue with these devices is that many of them are too weak and cannot withstand the impact of a collision.

Therefore, those who own or operate a commercial truck must install high-quality, heavy-duty underride guards to prevent fatal accidents.

Safe Driving Practices

In addition, drivers can avoid an underride crash by following common safety precautions, such as:

  • Avoiding driving too closely

  • Following at a safe distance

  • Checking blind spots

  • Driving at safe speeds

  • Avoiding distracted driving

  • Keeping their vehicles in excellent condition

  • Allowing room for unexpected stops

  • Always using their signal

  • Making wide turns carefully

Final Thoughts

Truck underride accidents are often fatal but almost always preventable. Drivers only have to follow safety precautions to reduce the risk of accidents on the road, and companies should only make small investments to ensure their commercial vehicles are in good condition.

However, many fail to fulfill their responsibilities and cause accidents that result in severe injuries.

Should People Contact Truck Accident Attorneys If They Are Involved in an Underride Crash?

As mentioned, the consequences of an underride crash are catastrophic. Victims may sustain severe injuries or lose their lives, as the truck often cuts off the roof of passenger vehicles that slide underneath them.

However, underride accidents are preventable, and federal laws require truck drivers to exercise caution to avoid crashes. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can also answer questions like, "What can you do to avoid wide turn accidents?"

When a truck driver or company fails to comply with these requirements and puts other people's lives at risk, victims are entitled to compensation for damages and losses. Therefore, they should contact a personal injury lawyer.

Toledo semi truck accident attorneys can help victims collect enough evidence to build a strong case against at-fault parties, fight for their rights, and get the financial compensation they deserve after a crash.

Commercial truck accidents can be avoided with small investments and reasonable care. Victims should not deal with life-long consequences due to other people's negligent actions.

If someone needs legal counsel to file a claim against a negligent truck driver or company, seek compensation, or handle negotiations with insurers, Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can help.

This law firm's experienced attorneys go to war for their clients and offer the advice victims need to get through this overwhelming experience.


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