A truck underride accident occurs when a smaller vehicle collides with a big rig and slides underneath the truck’s trailer. These crashes are incredibly dangerous and are some of the deadliest types of truck accidents. In fact, a 2008 study found that at least some light vehicle underride occurred in almost 65% percent of passenger vehicle fatalities in truck accidents.
Underride accidents lead to numerous deaths because the trailer is raised, allowing just enough room for a passenger vehicle to slide underneath. These accidents are rarely survivable because they often crop off the roofs of passenger vehicles, killing the occupants inside. Those who are lucky enough to walk away from these types of accidents are usually left to suffer with debilitating injuries.
What Usually Causes Truck Underride Accidents in Texas?
Most underride crashes when a tractor-trailer brakes suddenly, leaving the vehicle following behind without enough space to come to a complete stop. When small passenger vehicles aren’t able to stop in time, the vehicle can slam into the truck’s rear and become lodged beneath the truck’s trailer.
Sometimes, drivers of smaller vehicles accidentally drive under a tractor-trailer when they are changing lanes. Once the driver realizes what has happened, they will often panic and slam on their brakes. Unfortunately, this causes the rear wheels of the trailer to run over and crush the vehicle.
When a truck driver hits the brakes too hard, it can cause a tractor-trailer to jackknife itself. A jackknife accident is when a truck’s trailer slides out at a 90-degree angle to the cab, resembling a pocketknife. Jackknife accidents can cause a smaller vehicle to underride a tractor-trailer if the sliding trailer comes up behind a slow-moving vehicle or blocks the lane of travel, leaving a fast-traveling vehicle without enough time to stop.
Many commercial 18-wheelers now have barriers under their trailers to help prevent underride accidents, but unfortunately, they can bend under the force of an impact, rendering them unable to serve their intended purpose.
Types of Injuries that Can Result from Truck Underride Accidents in Texas
The average passenger vehicle is no match to the massive size and weight of semi-trucks, so when the two collide, the passenger vehicle will almost always sustain the brunt of the damage. The vast size and weight difference between the two vehicles is one of the reasons why truck wrecks can be so deadly. Underride accidents are one of the most dangerous types of truck crashes, commonly leaving victims to face severe injuries such as:
- Loss of limb
- Spinal cord damage
- Traumatic brain injury
- Organ damage or loss
- Significant disfigurement
- Bone fractures
- Severe lacerations