The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration notes that commercial trucks can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. The average passenger vehicle, by contrast, tips the scale at just over 4,000 pounds. As such, if you have a collision with a tractor-trailer, you may sustain serious injuries.
Major tractor-trailer crashes are not exactly rare in Georgia. For example, in early December 2019, an overturned commercial vehicle blocked all lanes of a major highway in Twiggs County. Because semitrucks regularly drive throughout the state, you may eventually come across a turned-over vehicle. Therefore, you should understand why semitrucks have a propensity to roll.
The physics of rollover crashes
Because 18-wheelers are heavy, they develop a significant amount of momentum when they are traveling down the road at fast speeds. Many commercial vehicles also have high centers of gravity. If a truck changes direction suddenly, the weight of its load combined with built-up momentum may push the vehicle onto its side or roof.
While rollover accidents can happen for a variety of reasons, the following factors often contribute to semitruck rollovers:
- Excessive speed
- Unbalanced loads
- Road hazards
- Traffic patterns
The driver’s role
Most commercial drivers receive extensive training on operating tractor-trailers safely. Still, in most rollover crashes, operator error is a contributing factor. If a driver fails to reduce a truck’s speed when entering a curve, he or she may inadvertently cause a rollover accident. The same is true if the driver does not correctly balance the trailer’s load. Furthermore, drowsy or distracted driving may also play a part in a rollover crash.
While any rollover accident has the potential to be quite serious, those involving tractor-trailers are often catastrophic. If you have sustained a life-altering injury in a crash with an overturned semitruck, you may face a long and expensive road to recovery. Accordingly, you likely must act quickly to pursue just compensation from the negligent individual who caused the accident.