Harm reduction is a modern philosophy that looks at the realities of life and seeks to find solutions that can help people stay safer. Instead of pushing for perfection, harm reduction acknowledges the limits to humans and human society and encourages people to make decisions that keep them and other people around them safer.
When it comes to driving safely on the road, harm reduction could involve an ongoing analysis of nearby vehicles to identify the ones that pose the biggest risk to you. Harm reduction could also involve familiarizing yourself with certain common occurrences and safety risks.
Commercial trucks are one of the biggest risk factors on the road, as their size and weight can lead to catastrophic, fatal collisions. Understanding the three most common forms of commercial truck crashes can help you identify a truck that could pose a safety risk to you and your passengers on the road.
Jackknifing accidents often result from a loss of traction
If you asked a passerby on the street to name a kind of truck accident, they will most likely respond with jackknifing accidents. A truck jackknifes when the direction that the cab faces is not the direction that the trailer attached to it travels. Jackknifed trucks often look like the capital letter L, and they can potentially block all lanes of traffic on a road or a highway, leading to massive collisions.
Given that it is a lack of traction that usually contributes to the dangerous motion of a jackknifing commercial truck, paying attention to road conditions is the number one way to avoid proximity to a truck that jackknives. When the roads are slick with precipitation or covered in debris of some sort, the risk for a jackknife incident where a truck driver loses control drastically increases. During those times, leave more space between your vehicle and a commercial one.
Underride collisions occurred due to close driving
One of the most dangerous things that you could do would be to merge in front of a large commercial truck and then hit your brakes. That truck will take longer to stop because of its weight and momentum, drastically increasing the potential for them to rear-end you.
When a commercial truck strikes a slower-moving or stopped passenger vehicle, it may go up and over the smaller vehicle in what is known as an underride collision. You can also wind up in an underride collision if you rear-end the commercial truck or if you slide under the trailer from either side. Giving trucks a wide berth and focusing on your visibility when driving close to them can help you avoid these tragic accidents.
Rollovers don’t just happen with SUVs
Any vehicle could roll over onto its roof if circumstances are right. Large, heavy SUVs can experience rollover crashes if they turn sharply at high speeds. The same is true for commercial trucks, but that is not the only risk factor for a trucking rollover.
A commercial truck could also experience a rollover accident due to improper loading of the cargo in the trailer. All it takes is one person not understanding how to properly load a trailer to leave a truck at increased risk for suddenly losing balance and tipping over. You likely can’t predict a rollover crash before it happens, which is one reason why you always want to avoid the lanes directly to the side of a commercial truck’s trailer.