Tractor trailer accidents are not among the most common highway incidents, but they are among the most dangerous. In general, accidents involving semis and other large trucks are much more likely to result in significant injuries or fatalities. Tractor trailer accidents are extremely dangerous, but mostly preventable.
Many if not most tractor trailer accidents are due to either driver error or mistakes made when loading cargo. It is important that cargo be loaded evenly on a tractor trailer, as too much weight on one side or the other increases the risk of tipping, particularly when turning. Tractor trailers turn wide and slow to minimize the risks, but improperly loaded materials are still a hazard.
Failing to properly secure cargo is another issue. When a load is not properly secured, it will shift around, and cause many of the same problems as improperly dispersed cargo. Proper tie downs must always be used when loading a tractor trailer, and an awareness of how best to secure different types of materials is a must.
Though cargo is one of the central risks with a tractor trailer, there is one scenario where an unloaded tractor trailer may pose a greater risk than a loaded one. In snowstorms or when highways are icy, an unloaded trailer may not have enough weight to avoid skidding.
In these situations, the state of New York will close certain highways to unloaded tractor trailers to minimize this risk. Drivers must remain aware of these restrictions and proceed accordingly. Though this may take additional time or miles, it is the best way to keep both the driver of the tractor trailer and other motorists safe.
If you have been involved in an accident involving a tractor trailer, a full investigation will need to take place to determine whether or not the vehicle was properly loaded, and whether all parts were in proper working order. Please, consult with an experienced attorney regarding your case.