Rollover tanker accidents are some of the most deadly tractor trailer accidents, injuring and killing many truck drivers and others every year. They can be especially dangerous when these vehicles carrying flammable or hazardous materials overturn. Tanker flip-overs are somewhat different than other types of rollovers, as truck accident attorneys have learned through the research done on these wrecks.
While there are some factors that may apply to all types of rollovers, causation of many tanker rollovers is largely due to physics and how liquids act when in motion.
Most tractor trailer rollovers are caused by the load-carrying trailer of the combination becoming unbalanced in some way and the force of gravity acts to turn over the trailer. Any big rig can turn over in the right conditions, which include driving too fast around curves, driving over unleveled or soft surfaces, and more. Other common causes of these tractor trailer accidents and recognized by truck accident attorneys include mechanical problems, poor weather conditions, and driver error.
Crash researchers also note that tanker flip overs, which is any event specifically involving 18-wheelers hauling liquid loads, are more prevalent and involve somewhat different causation than events involving big rigs hauling other loads.
Differences From Other Big Rig Crashes
A large percentage of rollover crashes involve tanker trucks that are more likely to flip over than vehicles not hauling liquid loads. The reason for this is due to how fluids inside the tanker react to motion and gravity. Acceleration, braking, and maneuvering a heavy tractor trailer can cause motion within the tank, upsetting its balance with the tractor.
As a result, liquids moving around inside a tanker can very easily unbalance the whole truck, resulting in a flip over. This significant factor, combined with other reasons why these tractor trailer accidents happen, makes the risk of flip over higher for tankers.
Multiple Factors That Cause Rollovers
Based on crash studies done on these events, truck accident attorneys understand that along with a higher risk of rollover, there are three significant factors that contribute to tanker flip overs:
Mechanical - Over half of flipped tankers studied had some kind of problem with the braking system. Brake problems and other mechanical concerns are more significant when drivers are attempting to carefully pilot liquid loads that require precise vehicle control.
Load Size - Nearly three-quarters of these crashes involved tankers that were only partially full. Extra space inside the tank allows more movement of liquid contents, which can make the tanker harder to manage.
- Driver Error - A significant contributor to tanker flip overs is driver error and inexperience. Operating a tanker requires much more know-how than driving most other tractor trailers.
Considering these three important factors, it is easy to see how the risk of a rollover is so much higher with cargo tankers and why these events are so deadly. Truck accident attorneys recommend that anyone injured in rollover tractor trailer accidents should seek medical help immediately, then contact an experienced attorney to help with their injury case.
Hildebrand & Wilson, LLP
Robert W. Hildebrand, Attorney at Law
J. Daniel Wilson, Attorney at Law
7830 Broadway, Suite 122
Pearland TX 77581
Phone: (281) 408-2190