An underride accident is a type of truck accident. Underrides happen when a smaller car hits a truck and slides underneath the trailer. Tragically, underride accidents are some of the most deadly crashes.
When a car slides underneath a truck, it usually cuts off the top of the vehicle. If the accident doesn’t cause death, it will result in severe injuries.
If you or a loved one were an underride accident victim, contact a lawyer. You might be entitled to compensation. To get a FREE, no-risk consultation, call John Foy & Associates at (404) 400-4000. You can also reach out through one of our online forms.
How Does an Underride Accident Happen?
There are two main types of underride accidents:
- Side underride accidents
- Rear underride accidents
These accidents can happen under different conditions, but both are typically fatal.
Side Underride Accidents
Side underride accidents happen when the smaller vehicle hits the side of a truck. These collisions usually occur:
- At night or at times when the sun is at a low angle, and
- When a trucker is trying to make a U-turn, cross or turn on a street, or back across traffic.
Truck drivers must ensure that other drivers can see them crossing a road. If that doesn’t happen, car drivers might not see the truck until it’s too late.
How well someone can see a truck has to do with target conspicuity. Target conspicuity is about how well a vehicle stands out from the background around it — especially at night. A truck might stand out better if there is more contrast in:
If a truck blends in with its surroundings, it will be harder for other drivers to see it. However, target conspicuity is not foolproof. Specific contrasts might be easier to see in the daytime. When the nighttime comes, it can be challenging to see a truck in any situation.
Rear Underride Accidents
Rear underride accidents happen when a car hits the rear of a large truck. Instead of a standard rear-end collision, the vehicle can travel under the truck.
Rear underride accidents can happen when a truck is:
- Parked on the side of the road,
- Slowing down for an intersection or railroad crossing,
- Slowly entering a road, or
- Exiting a highway too slowly.
Dim or burned out tail lights can also lead to rear underride accidents. If the car’s driver doesn’t know the truck is slowing down, they might not brake until it’s too late.
Truck drivers should ensure that all truck lights are working correctly. Truckers should also be careful when entering or exiting roads. They should signal so that other drivers know where they intend to go to stop.
Underride Accidents Caused by Weather
Adverse weather conditions can contribute to underride accidents. Rain, snow, or ice can cause drivers to lose vehicle control. If a car spins out of control, it can collide with a large truck. The force of the collision can cause an underride accident.
Other Causes of Underride Accidents
An underride collision might also happen when:
- Drivers don’t see a truck because of rain, fog, or other conditions.
- A car is tailgating a truck.
- Drivers are going too fast for current road conditions (Georgia Code Section 40-6-180).
- Truck drivers are negligent.
If you or a loved one were the victims of an underride accident, you have options. An experienced lawyer can determine who was at fault. You might be entitled to financial compensation.
Get a FREE, no-risk consultation with John Foy & Associates today. We will not charge you unless we win your case. Call (404) 400-4000, or contact us online to get started for FREE today.
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Are There Ways to Prevent Underride Accidents?
Most trucks must contain guards to prevent underride accidents. These guards are also known as rear safety bars.
Research has shown that rear underride guards on semi-trucks help prevent a car from sliding underneath during an accident. However, not all rear guards are as effective as they should be.
According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), the Department of Transportation (DOT) doesn’t require guard inspections. The department also hasn’t looked into the problems with using side guards on trucks. New rules for side guards and better standards for rear guards could help prevent accidents.
Truck Driver Responsibility
Truck drivers are not always at fault for underride accidents. However, truckers do have a duty to other drivers. They must drive safely and in a way that doesn’t harm others.
If truck drivers are not careful, they can cause collisions. Underride accidents are incredibly deadly, and a truck driver could be legally responsible if his or her negligence leads to a crash.
Truck driver negligence can include the following:
- Not using proper underride guards
- Failing to keep the truck maintained
- Not using or maintaining vehicle lights correctly
- Failing to meet conspicuity standards
Truck drivers often have strict deadlines. Trucking companies might pressure drivers to cut corners that could put all drivers at risk. Although truck drivers should be allowed regular brakes, they forgo sleep to push the product further.
Unfortunately, driver fatigue is prevalent in truck accidents. Some drivers will even abuse drugs or alcohol to deal with the grueling schedules. You and your family should not have to bear the costs of the driver’s mistakes.
Get a Free Consultation With a Truck Accident Lawyer Today
At John Foy & Associates, we have 20-plus years of experience working on truck accident cases. If you suffered injuries or lost a loved one in an underride accident, call today. We’ll go over your options during a FREE consultation.
We will not collect a fee unless we win your case. You can get started free of charge today. To schedule your FREE consultation, call (404) 400-4000 or contact us online.