Truck drivers who drive tractor-trailers for a living are in charge of transporting tremendous loads of cargo. In fact, the total weight of some tractor-trailers—including their cargo—may reach as much as 80,000 pounds. This is roughly the same as 20 standard vehicles!
If the cargo on tractor-trailers is not properly secured, it can lead to a devastating accident. Tractor-trailers may jackknife, flip, or have their cargo fall into the roadways when cargo shifts occur. During these scary incidents, surrounding drivers may be unable to avoid a massive tractor-trailer that skids across a highway.
Cargo shifts may impact any type of tractor-trailer. These trucks may be hauling toxic waste, logs, livestock, or other goods. The proper methods for securing cargo will of course depend on the type of cargo that is being transported. Though truck drivers may not always load their cargo themselves, they are responsible for making sure it is properly secured. Trucking companies are responsible for making sure that there are enough materials in the trucks to secure their cargo. Therefore, when an accident happens because of a cargo shift, both the truck driver and the trucking company may be liable for damages that result.
Tractor-trailers are at risk for cargo shifts
There are a number of reasons why a cargo shift may occur in a tractor-trailer. The center of gravity in a tractor-trailer is very high. In addition, the cargo area is easily the heaviest part of the tractor-trailer. When a truck driver needs to stop suddenly, the weight of the cargo may shift if it is not properly loaded, leading to an accident.
Avoiding accidents caused by cargo shifts
As a driver, it can be scary to travel alongside tractor-trailers. However, there are steps you may take to avoid an accident if the cargo in one of these trucks happens to shift.
First, always keep your distance. If you are traveling behind a truck, make sure there is plenty of space between your car and the truck, especially if the truck is hauling cargo such as logs or other items that may fall from the truck.
Keep your eye on the truck’s cargo as well, if you can see it. If you notice that any item on the trailer seems to become loose or unstable, put distance between yourself and the truck immediately.
If you are traveling in front of a tractor-trailer, do not change lanes in front of the truck suddenly, and do not brake suddenly either. If a truck driver needs to make a sudden stop, the cargo in the trailer may shift and cause a serious accident if the driver loses control and the truck jackknifes or rolls.
Our attorneys have decades of experience in injury claims
At Stein & Shulman, our injury attorneys have over forty of years of experience in truck accident claims. To schedule a free consultation to discuss the legal options in your claim, call us at (312) 422-0500.