Injury Law Blog

What Are the Different Types of Trucks and Truck Accidents?

Driving anywhere in Sacramento, California could expose you to the risk of colliding with a commercial truck. Each day, millions of large trucks pass through California on their way to pick up or deliver goods. The type and severity of a truck accident could depend on many factors, including the type of truck and the truck driver’s actions leading up to the crash. Learning more about truck accident types could help you understand your options after a collision.

Man driving car witnessing truck accident

Types of Big Rigs

The type of truck can influence the type of truck accident. The style, size and weight of the truck may alter the conditions or factors of the collision. Most commercial trucks haul goods and products for consumer consumption across the country. Other types of trucks, such as dump trucks, may haul other types of materials. Collisions with all types of trucks can be deadly.

  • Tractor-trailers. A tractor-trailer is an 18-wheeled truck designed with a cab pulling a closed trailer to haul cargo. Tractor-trailers have large blind spots and require extra space around them for safety.
  • Flatbed trucks. A flatbed truck may also have 18 wheels but hauls an open flatbed trailer instead of an enclosed cargo container. Flatbeds often carry oddly shaped cargo such as lumber or vehicles.
  • Garbage and utility trucks. Garbage and utility trucks can cause accidents due to large blind spots and limited visibility. They may haul heavy loads of gravel, dirt, trash or other materials. They are often involved in bicycle and pedestrian accidents.
  • Mail trucks. Mail delivery trucks could have distracted drivers that try to look at the road, a piece of mail and house numbers at the same time. Mail trucks may cause pedestrian accidents in neighborhoods.
  • Tanker truck. Tanker trucks may carry hazardous materials, such as gasoline or toxic liquids. A collision with a tanker could be deadly due to the release or ignition of these dangerous materials.

The type of truck involved in a crash can change the outcome of the collision. A crash with a flatbed, for example, could lead to cargo releasing into the road and striking other vehicles. The setup of the vehicle could also affect how the truck crashes. For instance, an 18-wheeler pulling a trailer may not crash the same way as a residential mail delivery truck.

Most Common Trucking Accidents

No two truck accidents are exactly alike, yet many share similarities due to the structure of the type of truck involved. Certain trucks crash certain ways. It is up to a truck driver to adequately control his or her vehicle in dangerous conditions, such as downhill or when taking a curve. Otherwise, a preventable truck accident could occur.

  • Jackknife. A jackknife accident can only happen with a truck pulling a trailer. It describes the locking up of a truck when its trailer swings out at an angle from the cab, usually due to inappropriate braking techniques. A driver will not be able to control a truck that has jackknifed.
  • Underride or override. An underride accident refers to a smaller vehicle wedging beneath the trailer of a commercial truck. An override accident is a type of rear-end collision in which the large truck rides over top of the back of the passenger vehicle.
  • No Zone accidents. Crashes that occur because of a truck’s blind spots, or the No Zone, could be the truck driver’s fault for failing to keep an adequate lookout. Unsafe lane changes, merge accidents and sideswipes can occur because of a truck’s blind spots.

Other common types of truck accidents include head-on collisions, broadside collisions, wide-turn accidents, tire blowouts and truck rollovers. Any type of truck accident could cause serious and fatal injuries to those involved. People in the passenger vehicle are more likely to suffer life-changing injuries than the driver of the truck.