How Do Unsecured Cargo Loads Cause Truck Accidents?

Unsecured Cargo LoadsTruck drivers must ensure that their trucks have secured cargo loads before they leave their location enroute to their next destination. If they do not, a dangerous accident resulting in severe injuries and fatalities may occur.

Here are four of the most common ways unsecured loads cause truck accidents:

  1. The unsecured load may cause visibility issues: When a truck is overloaded and its load unsecured, this can cause serious visibility issues for the truck driver. As a result, the truck driver may be unable to see other vehicles, road work, accidents, or debris, which can significantly impact their driving skills and lead to a truck accident.
  2. The unsecured load may cause the cargo or truck to shift: If a truck’s cargo is not loaded and secured correctly, it will shift while the truck is in motion, making it very challenging for the trucker to drive. Semi-trucks are already very difficult to control and maneuver, and when the cargo begins to shift, it can quickly cause the entire truck to become unbalanced, resulting in a dangerous or deadly rollover accident or collision.
  3. The cargo may spill out onto the roadway or other vehicles nearby: Another way that unsecured loads may cause a truck accident is when the cargo spills onto the roadway or other nearby vehicles, causing the truck or other vehicles to hydroplane if the road becomes wet or slippery. Depending on the type of cargo being carried, an unsecured load may cause the truck or other vehicles to catch on fire or experience a tire blowout. In addition, some vehicles will try to avoid the spilled cargo, which can also lead to a serious accident.
  4. The unsecured load may completely detach from the truck: When an 18-wheeler’s load is unsecured, it can eventually become entirely detached from the truck. This usually has devastating consequences as there is no way to know which way the runaway load will go, and no way to stop it. Therefore, if there are vehicles or pedestrians in its way, they are at risk of being struck or run over by the runaway load.

Who is usually liable in a truck accident involving an unsecured load?

Multiple parties may be found liable for a truck accident involving an unsecured load. A truck accident attorney will conduct an investigation, examine the facts and circumstances of the accident, and collect evidence that will help them determine liability. Some potential liable parties include:

  • The truck driver
  • The trucking company
  • The loading crew or company
  • The owner or leasing company of the truck or trailer
  • The truck or trailer manufacturer

In some cases, more than one party may be held accountable for a truck accident involving an unsecured load. It is important to hire a lawyer who is experienced and knowledgeable regarding these types of accidents because they will know how to find out what happened, who was involved, who is responsible, and what legal option you should pursue to get the best results possible.

Three tips that drivers should follow to protect themselves from unsecured loads

While a truck driver should take the time to inspect their load to ensure that it is safe and secure before getting inside and driving off, other drivers can benefit from knowing a few tips to protect themselves from accidents that may happen due to unsecured loads. The following are three tips that automobile drivers, motorcyclists, bus drivers, and other types of drivers should follow to protect themselves in case they encounter a semi-truck with an unsecured load:

  1. Keep a safe distance between your vehicle and the semi-truck: When you are sharing the road with a semi-truck, it is critical that you keep a safe distance between your vehicle and the large truck. They are likely carrying a heavy cargo load, which could be unsecured and fall at any time. If you keep your distance, there is a greater chance that you will be able to quickly react and move away from any objects that may spill out or enter your pathway.
  2. Never allow other vehicles to “trap” you in near a tractor trailer: If you are driving near a tractor trailer, keep an eye on your surroundings to ensure that other vehicles do not “trap” you in. This is important because if you are surrounded by vehicles on all sides, you will not be able to get out of the way should the truck’s load become wobbly, loose, or completely detached, putting you in a dangerous situation.
  3. Always drive carefully and cautiously around 18-wheelers: It can be difficult to tell if an 18-wheeler’s load is secured correctly. Therefore, you should always drive carefully and cautiously around these large trucks, staying alert and avoiding any distractions at all times. Even though you may be tempted to speed up or try to outrun the 18-wheeler, you should allow them to pass or go around you.

If you or a loved one were recently hurt because of falling or unsecured cargo, the Charlotte truck accident lawyers at Price, Petho & Associates are here to help. Our team has years of experience assisting clients with similar cases, and if you hire us, we will help you overcome any obstacles and challenges that may arise during the legal process. Please call our office or submit our contact form to get started today. We offer free consultations at our three offices conveniently located throughout North Carolina, including Charlotte, Rockingham, and Rutherfordton.