Motorists can get a little bit nervous when sharing the road with 18-wheeler trucks pulling trailers behind them, and rightfully so. In 2013, there were 3,964 fatalities that involved crashes with these big rigs. Some of these deaths were due to a specific type of accident called underride accidents. Here are four things you should know about underride accidents.
What Are Underride Accidents?
Before understanding underride accidents, you must first be familiar with underride guards. These guards are the steel bars hanging down from the backs of truck trailers and are supposed to help absorb the energy in the event of a crash. The guards should protect smaller vehicles from going underneath a truck's trailer, but they sometimes fail. When underride guards don't do their job, there can be dire consequences.
What Types of Injuries are Common in Underride Accidents?
In instances where underride guards fail, a vehicle ends up going underneath the truck's trailer which causes the top of the vehicle to get crushed. Airbags and seatbelts become completely useless and there is no protection against injury. The most common types of injures incurred in underride accidents include
- Head and neck injuries including concussions, traumatic brain injuries, and fractures of the skull
- Spinal injuries including paralysis and nerve damage
- Broken or fractured bones
Some people have also suffered decapitation during underride accidents, resulting in death. According to some statistics, 228 people died in the year 2014.
What Can Be Done to Prevent Underride Accidents?
Those who have been injured or have lost loved ones in underride accidents are often advocates for stricter regulations when it comes to effective underride guards on all trucks. The Truck Safety Coalition has also been active in advocating for better rear guards and for trucks to have side guards as well. Until the regulations take effect, it is always in the driver's best interest to pay close attention to their driving, especially when sharing the road with large trucks. Other safety tips include
- Drive the speed limit
- Don't drive in inclement weather
- Don't drive while feeling drowsy
- Pay attention to blind spots
- Don't use the cell phone or text while driving
Who Should I Call If I've Been Injured in an Underride Accident?
If you have been injured in an underride accident, or you have lost a loved one, you should contact a truck accident attorney. These types of attorneys have the knowledge and resources necessary to help you seek maximum compensation for those involved in a truck accident. Click here for more info.