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Underride collisions with trucks prove deadly

As the state capital and South Carolina’s second-largest city, Columbia remains an economic hub. With three major interstate highways in the area, motorists share the roads with many big-rig trucks hauling freight from coast to coast. Road safety is essential with these colossal 18-wheelers. After all, if you get into an accident with one, the odds just are not in your favor, especially in “underride collisions.”

Such road accidents can prove fatal to all occupants in passenger vehicles no matter at what speed. An underride collision takes place when a motor vehicle collides with a big-rig truck or its trailer, skidding underneath. In some situations, the vehicle roof is sheered, killing or seriously injuring the driver and all passengers.

Not seeing the truck until too late

Such collisions occur from the rear or from the side, and negligence on the part of the truck driver or truck driving company often play contributing factors. When these accidents happen, it is usually because the driver of the other vehicle did not see the truck until it was too late.

Here are descriptions of each type of collision:

  • Side underride collisions: These accidents typically happen at night, when visibility is low, or the sun is limiting a driver’s view. They often occur when a slow-moving truck attempts to cross or turn onto a road or highway. Non-working or obscured lights on the side of the truck may contribute to such an accident. Sometimes, drivers of the passenger-vehicles may mistake the truck’s side lights as taillights in the distance or roadside markings.
  • Rear underride collisions: These accidents occur when a motor vehicle smashes into the rear of the big-rig truck and may occur due to poorly marked trucks or trailer. Other potential causes: when a trucker neglects to use reflective triangles while parked on the side of the road, or when he or she fails to rely on emergency flashers when exiting or entering a highway.

Please be careful when sharing the road with big-rig trucks. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported in 2018 that 122 people died in accidents involving large trucks in South Carolina. Of those fatalities recorded, 75% of the victims were occupants in other vehicles.

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