If you were driving behind a car on a highway and on a curve and the car unexpectedly rolled over on its side, you may think you were hallucinating. It is almost unheard of for such a thing to occur however, in the case of a large commercial truck, this is a distinct possibility.
Due to the fundamental structure of large trucks and the loads they carry, they have a high susceptibility to rollover accidents, often resulting in fatal results both for the drivers and other people on the road.
Primary Reasons For Truck Rollover Accidents
Large trucks have a variety of factors that affect their propensity for rollover accidents. Although there are complicated equations and explanations for why this happens from a physics perspective, it comes down to simply the way they are designed. If you think of a short, wide drinking glass and a tall, stemmed wine glass and envision how easy each would be to tip over, you will get the comparison of a car and a semi-truck. Both can tip over, but a slight push will tip the wine glass where a short, stubby drinking glass needs more force. Design coupled with other factors can make rollover even more likely.
- Design. Large trucks have long bodies and tall heights that are balanced on a comparatively narrow wheelbase. This makes them susceptible to rollovers just in design. The roll stability of a tractor-trailer can be a quarter of what is normal for a standard car.
- Weight load. Top heavy loads make large trucks that are unstable to begin with even at higher risk for rollovers. The more weight that is stacked to a high level, the higher the chance of a rollover. Gravity has its hand in pulling an already unstable vehicle to the ground.
- Load movement. If a large truck is hauling freight that either is improperly restrained and shifts, or is fluid in the case of liquid or fine particles like sand, it can affect the balance of the truck. If a load sudden shifts when a truck is rounding a corner or changes lanes, it can throw off the balance and overturn the vehicle.
- Maneuvering. Negotiating a curve is the most common reason for a large truck to loose control and stability. The next two most common factors are avoidance maneuvers and recovering from hitting the roads edge.
What makes truck rollovers even more dangerous is that once the truck is put in motion to rollover, there is little that can be done to stop or correct it. The gravitational forces at hand and weight involved make it almost impossible to stop a rollover when it begins. About 20% of all truck accidents are attributed to instability that lead to a rollover accidents, that can cause devastating injuries to both the truck drivers and other drivers on the road.