Sharing the road with large trucks can be very intimidating, even for a seasoned motorist. Tractor-trailer trucks, construction trucks, and other heavy-duty vehicles have a high clearance which allows for smaller cars, motorcycles, and bicycles to underride the big rig. Underride accidents can have horrific results. Underride collisions tend to crush the roof of smaller cars and frequently cause death or severe and catastrophic injuries if the victims survive.
A large number of underride accidents happen when a passenger car strikes the rear of a semi-trailer. The semi is high enough to allow the hood of the car to pass under. Conversely, the pillars and roof are too tall to fit under. As a result, the collision point of an underride accident is the pillars that frame the windshield and hold up the roof of the car. The “A-pillars,” as those points are known, were not manufactured to withstand a crash. They are weak and will collapse in an underride accident. Therefore, the car does not protect the occupants of the car that rides under the semi-truck.
Many large trucks are required to have rear collision guards affixed to the rear of the trailer to prevent a vehicle from going under the back end. However, if a vehicle crashes into the rear guard at 35 miles per hour, the guard provides no protection, and an underride accident occurs. Curiously, tractor-trailer trucks do not have side guards to protect against a t-bone crash resulting in an underride accident. Regulations require trucks to ride with a device that runs the length of the trailer to make them more aerodynamic, thereby reducing drag and increasing fuel efficiency. Those panels are not there for safety.
A person who survives an underride collision is likely to be severely injured. Underride crash victims could suffer traumatic brain injuries, amputation, and paralysis. Survivors might face enormous medical bills, employment, extraordinary future medical costs, along with physical pain and suffering.
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