Underride collisions occur when a smaller vehicle slides underneath a large tractor-trailer. It is one of the most deadly types of accidents. They are frequently fatal accident because the vehicle sliding under the truck is typically crushed by the weight of the truck on impact.
Types of Underride Collisions
There are three types of underride collisions. In a rear underride collision, the vehicle goes under the rear of the much larger truck. In a side underride collision, the smaller vehicle slides underneath the side of the truck. In a front collision, the truck drives over the smaller vehicle, lodging it under the front of the truck. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 57% of underride collisions involved the front of the truck, 22% involved the rear, and 20% involved the side.
Common Causes of Underride Collisions
Underride collisions often occur as the result of:
- Improper Maintenance of the Truck—if a truck is not properly maintained, it could result in brake failure, which could lead to a front underride collision. In addition, brake lights that are not properly functioning could make a truck difficult to see in the dark and result in a car rear-ending a truck. Improper reflective gear could lead to an accident in poor visibility conditions.
- Weather Conditions—truck drivers should be properly trained on how to safely drive in adverse weather conditions. Night blindness and inclement weather can make other cars on the road difficult to see.
- Distracted, Impaired, or Reckless Driving—truck drivers who are not driving safely can cause serious accidents. Improper lane changes and following a vehicle too closely can result in a tragic underride collision. Speeding and not paying attention to the road can also be contributing factors.
- Inadequate Underside Guards—in many cases, large tractor-trailers are not equipped with safe underside guards meant to prevent a smaller car from going underneath a larger truck. Sometimes a truck lacks guards completely, or the guards are not sturdy enough. Even sturdy guards may be unable to prevent an underride collision at high speed.
Underride Collision Prevention
Careful and attentive driving, proper maintenance, and driver training are important factors in preventing underride collisions. However, one of the most effective prevention measures is underside guards. Commercial trucks operating in the United States are required to have rear underride guards. They are not required to have side guards. An IIHS study found that side guards prevent significant safety benefits. Over the years, efforts have been made to require side guards. However, it has not yet become the law.
Get Help From an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney
If you or someone you love has been injured in a truck accident, you want the help of an experienced and trusted truck accident attorney. At GGRM, we have been on the side of injury victims for over 50 years. To set up your free consultation, contact us online or call us at 702-978-7641 today.