The rollover accident is one of the most devastating commercial truck accident types. It has a high driver fatality risk and substantial damage occurs to the rig and cargo. Compared to most other vehicle types on the road, the fully loaded commercial or owner operator truck has a high center of gravity which makes it more susceptible to rollovers. The truck driver should never forget this fact because there are many ways that a rollover can happen. Here are seven of them:
- Poor cargo loading. Poor distribution of the load weight in the trailer such as positioning heavy cargo near the top or failing to center the load can make the trailer top-heavy or cause it to lean. Poorly secured loads can shift during a turn and initiate a rollover.
- Suspension problems. Suspension problems can compromise the handling and stability of the commercial or owner operator truck.
- Bad or under inflated tires. Tire blowouts on the trailer and especially on a front wheel of the tractor can cause loss of control and a possible rollover accident.
- Driving too fast on turns or in poor road conditions. Complacency, inexperience, or inattention can cause the commercial truck driver to turn at excessive speed. Sometimes the centrifugal force of the turn is enough to tip the rig over. Other times the precariously balanced truck may hit a curb or road debris that triggers the rollover.
- Hard emergency maneuvers. A sudden road emergency may cause the driver to brake hard while swerving sharply. Never swerve and brake at the same time.
- Failing to take different conditions into account. The commercial or owner operator truck’s ability to handle a specific turn will depend on the load carried, the road conditions, and the wind severity.
- Going off the road. Going down an embankment often causes a rollover. However, if the driver manages to keep the rig upright, he shouldn’t attempt to drive back onto the road because this exposes him to further rollover risk. Instead, he should get a tow.