Dangers of Tanker Truck Accidents
Of all the auto accidents which occur on a daily basis, truck accidents are among the most dangerous. Large trucks tend to cause more severe injuries. This is because the added weight and size increases the truck’s momentum in an accident, making it a more powerful mechanism of injury. Furthermore, cargo being transported by large trucks can also increase the risk of sustaining an injury. When that cargo is liquid, gas, or dry goods being transported by a tanker truck, drivers face increased chances of severe injuries in the event of an accident.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident involving a tanker truck, you have the legal right to be compensated for your injuries by the person who is legally responsible for causing the accident. Trust the experienced attorneys at the Dolman Law Group to handle your personal injury claim quickly, professionally, and fairly. We have decades of experience in protecting the rights of accident victims in and around St. Petersburg. Our friendly, professional staff offers personalized service to ensure that your case is handled effectively.
Why Tanker Trucks Are Especially Dangerous
Any large truck – whether a semi–truck, an eighteen–wheeler, a tractor–trailer, a flatbed, or another type of big rig – carries an increased risk of injury during an accident. The mechanism of an injury determines the severity of that injury. Loaded cargo trucks are large and heavy, and this makes them a powerful mechanism of injury. Drivers, passengers, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and passengers who are involved in auto accidents with large trucks often learn this unfortunate physics lesson the hard way. Truck drivers also have larger blind spots due to the size of the vehicle, which makes it harder to identify and avoid obstacles in the road. Rollover accidents, jackknife accidents, collisions and other accidents are common amongst all types of big rigs.
The cargo in a tanker truck can also increase the risk of being injured in an accident. Liquid cargo can cause nearby drivers to hydroplane and lose control of their vehicles. Gaseous materials can release into the air and pose health risks to the community. And whenever the cargo is designated as Hazardous Materials, there are additional injuries which can be sustained by anyone in the vicinity of the accident. Certain liquids can cause severe chemical burns to anyone who comes in contact with the material. Flammable materials can increase the risk of serious burn injuries and property damage. In the most severe cases, flammable materials can cause the entire truck to explode. Truck drivers (and their employing transport companies) must carefully inspect their vehicles for leaks, spills, or faulty equipment that can increase the risk of an explosion or fire.
Even non-flammable and non-hazardous liquid cargo (for example, milk) can pose unique risks to drivers on the road. Liquid cargo tends to slosh within the tank. Liquid is heavy and sloshing can cause imbalance and swaying which can be difficult for a trucker to correct. Even experienced truckers are not immune to the effects of heavy liquid cargo loads – particularly when the wind or other weather conditions further complicate the driver’s ability to balance the big rig. This creates a “surge” effect which affects the truck’s stopping time and distance. In some cases, a surge can propel a tanker truck forward from a complete stop.
How to Stay Safe Around a Tanker Truck
While large trucks – and tanker trucks in particular – pose increased risks of injury to nearby drivers, these risks can be mitigated with safe driving habits.
Always leave ample space between your vehicle and a nearby large truck. Trucks require greater stopping distance because of their size and weight. Tailgating and sudden movements can prevent a truck driver from having enough stopping distance to avoid a collision with your vehicle.
Take steps to ensure that your vehicle is visible to nearby truck drivers. If you cannot see a truck’s mirrors, the truck driver will not be able to see your vehicle. Headlights should be used as appropriate.
Tanker trucks which are carrying hazardous materials are required to bear appropriate HazMat placards which designate the type of material being transported. Take note of any hazardous materials signage on nearby tanker trucks. Drive carefully to avoid a collision when such trucks are nearby. In the event of an accident, note the numbers on the HazMat placards and provide the emergency dispatcher with this information. This will allow the appropriate emergency services to respond and take appropriate action with respect to the hazardous materials.
Be on the alert for tire blowouts, which are especially common in hot weather. Check your own tire pressure and tread prior to driving on the highway or embarking on a long trip. Leave ample space between your vehicle and a big rig in case the truck experiences a tire blowout.
Slow down! Be particularly cautious when circumstances demand it. Construction zones, poor visibility, and Florida’s infamous hurricane season can all pose highly dangerous risks to vehicles that do not slow down. Pay attention to your surroundings and adapt your driving behavior accordingly. The best way to avoid an accident is to allow yourself enough time and space to react to obstacles in the road and other hazardous driving conditions.
Be aware of any swaying or other imbalance in the driving patterns of nearby trucks. Allow plenty of space between your vehicle and a swerving truck so that you are prepared in the event that the truck driver loses control of his or her rig.
The Dolman Law Group has decades of experience in protecting the rights of truck accident victims in southern Florida. Call (727) 451-6900 to schedule your free consultation with a personal injury attorney today. Our experienced, aggressive attorneys have extensive experience in handling personal injury and truck accident claims. We protect residents and visitors of St. Petersburg to ensure you are fairly compensated for your personal injury claim.