Despite federal and state regulations designed to protect the public from the consequences of overloaded or improperly loaded trucks, the problem still exists. Human error and pressure to transport as much cargo as possible with the fewest runs in the least amount of time are the primary reasons overloaded and poorly loaded cargo continue to cause truck accidents. Here are six ways that this problem causes accidents that impact both truck drivers and the public:
- Braking problems – An overloaded truck requires more distance to stop which can lead to drivers misjudging distances and failing to stop in time. Brakes can also overheat and go soft more quickly on downhills.
- Tire blowouts – Overloaded tires overheat and wear out more rapidly. This condition increases the likelihood of blowouts which can lead to loss of control.
- Falling cargo – Improperly secured cargo can fall on to the road and endanger the traffic behind the truck. Sometimes the cargo obstructs the vehicles behind, causing their loss of control or may directly strike windshields and the occupants within the vehicle. Hazardous materials on the road may be toxic or highly combustible.
- Shifting cargo – Cargo that shifts while turning or swerving can cause loss of control or a rollover of the truck.
- Jackknifing – When too much weight sits in the rear of the trailer, it is more prone to skid and pivot on the hitch. This is called trailer swinging which is a form of jackknifing.
- Truck rollovers – In addition to rollovers caused by shifting cargo, rollovers often happen when the trailer is loaded in a way that makes it top-heavy. Top heavy trailers are more likely to rollover on a turn or in high winds. Cargo stacked on one side of a trailer causes it to lean on that side and again makes the trailer more prone to tipping over on a turn or by gusty winds.
Because of the large size and weight of tractor-trailer rigs, accidents arising from overloaded and improperly loaded trailers can exact a large human toll in injuries, fatalities, and damaged property. If you or someone close to you have experienced physical and financial setbacks because of this, contact us to discuss your case.