If you follow the news, you have probably seen a few articles or segments about big rig rollovers throughout the state. You might have even been stuck on a highway that was closed down for hours after a rollover. What is happening in West Virginia that so many trucks are having these types of crashes?
Rollovers are more common with 18-wheelers because they have a high center of gravity. When a truck driver makes a mistake – such as taking a turn too quickly – it may result in the truck tipping or even rolling over. These accidents often lead to serious or fatal injuries.
Johnstone & Gabhart represents individuals throughout West Virginia who have been hurt in all types of motor vehicle accidents. We offer free initial consultations, and never charge a fee unless we get money for you. To learn more or to schedule an appointment with a West Virginia truck accident lawyer, reach out to our law office today.
Recent 18 Wheeler Rollover Accidents in West Virginia
Over the past several months, it seems as though there have been numerous rollover truck accidents in West Virginia. Our state is known for its winding, mountainous roads. It is also a popular route for freight trucks as they deliver goods throughout the Mid-Atlantic region.
Some of the more recent big rig rollover accidents in West Virginia include:
- In September, a flatbed trailer overturned on I-77 in Ravenswood, shutting down the highway for hours. The driver of the truck was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries.
- In September, a garbage truck was in a rollover accident in Charleston after a car did a u-turn in front of it and the truck swerved to avoid hitting the car.
- In August, a big rig carrying a chemical (amines solution) rolled over on the Skitter Creek Bridge in Fayette County. The driver of the truck was subsequently arrested for drunk driving (DUI).
- In July, a semi-truck was in a rollover accident on I-64 in Charleston. This accident resulted in a spill of 600 gallons of an acetone material, causing substantial damage to the pavement
- In July, a flatbed truck rolled over on U.S. 50 near Salem.
- In July, a coal truck rolled over on Route 61 in Fayette County, shutting down the highway for hours.
This is just a small sample of the many rollover truck accidents that happen on West Virginia’s roadways. These accidents often lead to serious or even fatal injuries.
How Semi Truck Rollovers Happen
According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a key factor in rollover crashes is the vehicle’s center of gravity. 18-wheelers – like SUVs and other large vehicles – are tall vehicles. As such, they have a high center of gravity – which makes them more prone to rollovers.
An object’s center of gravity will always be contained within the confines of the vehicle as it is oriented in space relative to the pull of gravity. If there is a change in the vehicle’s spatial orientation (such as a tight turn), then the vehicle’s center of gravity will shift. The car will then seek new structural support relative to the pull of gravity, such as its side or roof. When this occurs, a vehicle may topple or rollover.
Semi-trucks are at particular risk of rollovers because they are so large and have such a high center of gravity. When a truck driver turns too quickly, the vehicle can become unbalanced, leading to a rollover. In other cases, an 18-wheeler can roll over because of an unbalanced load that shifts the vehicle’s center of gravity. Other common causes of truck rollover accidents may include aggressive driving, distracted driving, speeding, low tire pressure, bad brakes, and incorrect loading.
In West Virginia, driving errors often lead to rollover accidents for commercial motor vehicles. Unlike states with relatively flat roads, the highways in the Mountain State are filled with curves. If a truck driver doesn’t pay careful attention to what they are doing, it could result in a severe truck accident.
Safety Tips for Drivers
According to the NHTSA, most motor vehicle accidents are caused by driver error. While you cannot prevent other drivers on the road (including truck drivers) from being careless, you can take steps to protect yourself and your passengers. Doing so is particularly important when it comes to 18-wheeler rollover accidents, which can often be fatal.
One of the most important things that you can do is to allow a safety cushion. Maintain a safe following distance, remembering that it takes a lot more time for a big, heavy truck to come to a stop. If you decide to pass a semi-truck, do so quickly and get back into the right lane (without cutting off the driver).
You should also avoid being in a truck’s blind spots. A good rule of thumb is that if you cannot see a truck driver in their mirrors, then they cannot see you. Stay out of this “no zone.”
Finally, you should always use caution when driving near tractor-trailers. While truck drivers require a special license to operate their commercial motor vehicles, many are worn down by long hours on the road. Even the best drivers make mistakes – and an error made while driving a big rig is far more likely to lead to a rollover accident. Paying close attention and being extra alert when driving near 18-wheelers is always a good idea.
Hurt in a Truck Accident? We Can Help.
Truck accidents are responsible for some of the most serious and catastrophic injuries in West Virginia. If you have been injured in a truck crash, you may not know where to turn for help. Our law firm is here for you.
Based in Charleston, Johnstone & Gabhart represents injury victims throughout West Virginia in all types of accident cases – including 18-wheeler rollovers. We work hard to help our clients get the compensation that they deserve for their losses. To learn more or to schedule a free initial consultation with a Charleston truck accident lawyer, give us a call at 866-532-2027 or fill out our online contact form.