Why truck underride crashes are so dangerous and deadly

On Behalf of | Feb 23, 2024 | Truck Accidents |

Truck underride crashes pose a significant threat on the roads due to their severe consequences and high fatality rates. These collisions occur when a smaller vehicle slides underneath the rear or side of a large truck.

Several factors contribute to the severity of truck underride crashes, making them one of the deadliest types of accidents on roadways.

Inadequate visibility and warning

A key reason why truck underride crashes are so dangerous is the lack of visibility and warning for drivers of smaller vehicles. Large trucks may have blind spots or insufficient reflective markings. This can make them difficult for other drivers to see, especially in low-light conditions or inclement weather. As a result, smaller vehicles may inadvertently collide with the rear or side of a truck, leading to underride accidents.

Limited crash protection

Another factor contributing to the lethality of truck underride crashes is the limited crash protection offered to occupants of smaller vehicles. When a car or smaller vehicle slides underneath a truck, the impact can result in severe injuries or fatalities, as the truck’s structure may intrude into the passenger compartment. The lack of adequate crash protection mechanisms, such as side guards or reinforced rear bumpers, increases the likelihood of catastrophic outcomes in underride collisions.

High speeds and forces

The high speeds and forces involved in truck underride crashes further exacerbate the severity of injuries and fatalities. The momentum of a smaller vehicle colliding with a large truck can lead to significant deceleration forces and traumatic injuries for occupants. This is true even when crashes occur at relatively moderate speeds. The height differential between the two vehicles can also result in the smaller vehicle making its way underneath the truck, further increasing the risk of fatal injuries for occupants.

Per PBS, more than 100 people lost their lives in truck underride wrecks in the United States in 2021. Addressing these issues requires comprehensive safety measures, including improved visibility enhancements for trucks, implementation of rear underride protection systems and increased awareness and education for drivers.

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