Tractor-Trailer Flips on Interstate 490
On August 30, 2016, a tractor-trailer flipped over on Route 490 outside of Rochester New York blocking traffic for several hours while crews attempted to clean the debris from the road. This accident happened shortly after two o’clock in the afternoon and affected many drivers commute as they were on their way home from work. This accident happened on part of 490 east, where the road curves hard to the right just as drivers exit the east side of downtown. While the cause of the accident has not yet been determined, state officers noted that speed may have been a factor for the accident as the tractor-trailer went through the hard curve. While there were no major reported injuries. Crews spent several hours trying to clean the scrap-metal that the tractor was carrying.
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Why do Tractor-Trailers Flip?
This accident highlights the danger that many tractor-trailer drivers have to account for every day; the very real possibility that their tractor could flip or roll over while they are on the road. According to the Large Truck Crash Causation Study, which was conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, there were over two hundred and thirty nine crashes where a truck rolled over. Some of the factors that the Large Truck Crash Causation study noted included:
Failing to adjust speed to curves in the road – Because a large truck has a much higher center of gravity than a standard passenger vehicle, they must slow down more when they are going through a curve or turn. Most of the accidents that the Large Truck Causation Study attributed to speed were documented on on-ramps and off-ramps. While the cause of this accident has not been determined, officers on the scene seemed to think that speed played a part in this accident.
The type of load being carried – Just because there is a tractor-trailer in front of you it does not mean that they are necessarily carrying the same cargo. Certain cargo types are less secure than others and can shift more readily in the trailer.
Condition of the brakes – You know that your brakes are an important part of your car, and are essential for safe driving. The same is true for a large tractor-trailer. However, tractor-trailer drivers often drive exceedingly longer distances in a single day than many people drive in a month. In addition, a tractor requires a much more complex series of braking devices in order to bring their vehicle to a complete stop. If the brakes on a tractor are not in the best shape, this can cause an uneven braking pattern which leads to rollover accidents.
Road surface – The surface of the road can also play a major role in rollover accidents. If the road is not level or there are divots in the road, then a driver may lose control over their tractor-trailer and roll over.
Intersection conditions – Because tractor-trailers and other commercial vehicles are generally much longer than a standard car, SUV, or even truck, they require a much larger turning radius. In addition, if the intersection is sloped or uneven this can cause one or more of the tires to become unsteady and lead to the entire vehicle rolling over.
The Large Truck Crash Causation Study also noted that another major factor for rollovers was attention. It takes a monumental amount of attention to drive a commercial vehicle. A driver who loses their attention even for a minute can find himself or herself on the side of the road in an accident. Simple inattentiveness was a major factor in many of the two-hundred and thirty-nine rollover accidents. Additionally, drivers who were dozing or fell asleep also caused a large amount of rollover accidents.
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