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What are underride accidents?

On Behalf of | May 23, 2023 | Truck Accidents

Any type of semi-truck accident can cause severe injuries. These are some of the most dangerous accidents on the road. The height and weight of a semi can influence the outcome of a collision with a smaller vehicle for the much, much worse.

In terms of weight, semi-trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds when they’re fully loaded. A passenger car, by comparison, ordinarily weighs around 5,000 pounds. In a collision, physics dictates that energy generally moves from the larger amount of mass to the smaller, so those in the smaller vehicle are at risk of suffering particularly severe injuries.

Height can also cause issues. Specifically, the height of a semi can lead to underride accidents. What are these and why are they so devastating?

Getting pinned under the trailer

An underride accident happens specifically because a smaller vehicle can fit under a semi truck’s trailer. This often happens between the truck’s wheels. For example, if a truck driver turns left in front of a convertible, the convertible may strike the turning trailer between the axles. It can then become pinned under that trailer, making it difficult for rescue crews to get to the individuals who are trapped inside.

Additionally, this type of accident is dangerous because the impact happens closer to head level. If two convertibles collide, the impact happens at the bumpers, and people are more likely to suffer leg injuries. But when the impact point for the underside of a semi’s trailer is right in the middle of a car’s windshield, those within the smaller vehicle are probably going to suffer head, neck and spinal cord injuries. This could lead to traumatic brain injuries, paralysis and even fatal injuries.

Is anything being done?

Some safety systems have been put in place to stop these underride accidents. This is why you will often see steel bars on the back of a semi, for instance, preventing a car from becoming trapped underneath in a rear-end accident. But these crashes certainly do still happen, and they may be the fault of a truck driver who made a negligent or reckless maneuver. Those who have suffered injuries or lost loved ones can benefit from seeking legal guidance accordingly.