Truck accidents happen for many different reasons, including problems with the cargo being hauled. Appropriate load security is always a factor in preventing tractor trailer wrecks; however, there are other important considerations as well. Some cargo is simply more difficult to haul than others. In these cases, truck accident attorneys point out that commercial carrier companies and drivers have the important responsibility of taking extra precautions to prevent load-related accidents.
Not All Loads Are Equal
The easiest load for any driver to haul is one that can be easily secured to the vehicle and will not move. In these instances, keeping the entire rig balanced and knowing what to expect as the vehicle travels along the highway negotiating obstacles along the way is much easier. Unfortunately, as truck accident attorneys are well aware, many loads hauled by tractor trailers are not this simple.
Many trucks haul cargo that cannot be completely secured within the confines of the trailer, such as liquid cargo, oversized items, loose material, and even live animals. In these instances, preventing truck accidents requires not only special attention to the cargo but also highly skilled operation of the vehicle.
How Loads Affect the Truck
Keeping tractor trailers balanced and under control requires great proficiency. Trucks carrying cargo such as those mentioned above require even more skill to operate safely since movable and oversized cargo can significantly affect vehicle handling. In these instances, the main concern is load shifting, which is less controllable with liquids or loose materials and live animal cargo, all of which react independently to the forces of gravity and momentum.
Drivers must continually anticipate load movement within the trailer and compensate for it. This need creates a much more stressful driving environment, expanding the envelope for errors that affect weighed down tractor trailers and increasing the chance of truck accidents.
Preventing Cargo Related Truck Accidents
Cargo security is the main factor in preventing truck accidents attributed to the load. When hauling non-securable loads, drivers must take precautions to reduce dangerous weight shifting that can cause loss of vehicle control or loss of the cargo itself. Operators must understand what behavior is expected from their load, monitor the loading of their rig, and then perform frequent checks to ensure load security while traveling. They must also adjust their driving to reduce weight shifting by reducing speed, cornering more carefully, and avoiding risky situations.
In particular, truck accident attorneys stress that drivers hauling liquid loads should avoid traveling with partially-full tanks, as the extra space within the tank allows liquid to move, affecting the balance of the trailer. Partially-full tankers are much more likely to roll over due to an extreme weight shift while the vehicle is in motion. In light of this, it is up to the driver to remedy the situation or proceed with greater caution to reduce the potential for problems.
Truck accidents caused by cargo concerns are frequently the result of either improper loading and securing or a driver’s inability to control a moveable load. While not every one of these wrecks can be attributed to the driver, truck accident attorneys suggest that drivers carry the main responsibility to ensure cargo safety. Drivers must make sure their cargo is balanced and secured as well as it can be, then proceed with the caution necessary to reduce weight shift and other ways that more challenging cargo can affect the truck!
Hildebrand & Wilson, LLP
Robert W. Hildebrand, Attorney at Law
J. Daniel Wilson, Attorney at Law
7830 Broadway, Suite 122
Pearland TX 77581
Phone: (281) 408-2190