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How Does an Underride Accident Happen?

Colburn Law

Underride accidents are a type of collision that can occur between a passenger vehicle and a large commercial truck. These accidents can be particularly devastating, as the smaller vehicle can become wedged underneath the truck, leading to catastrophic injuries or even death.

Many factors can contribute to an underride accident, and most often, these collisions occur due to the negligence of one or both drivers. If you or a loved one is involved in an underride accident, you have the right to pursue legal action against the responsible truck driver.

How Does an Underride Accident Happen?

Causes of Side Underride Accidents

Side underride accidents occur when a smaller vehicle collides with the side of a large commercial truck. They often happen during times when visibility is low, such as at night or during times when the sun is at a low angle. Additionally, side underride accidents can occur when a trucker is attempting to make a U-turn, cross a street, or turn across traffic.

To prevent side underride accidents, truck drivers must ensure that they are visible to other drivers on the road. This is where target conspicuity comes into play, which refers to how well a vehicle stands out from its background, especially at night. Factors that can improve target conspicuity include color, shape, size, brightness, and movement.

However, even with proper target conspicuity, side underride accidents can still occur, particularly in low-visibility conditions caused by darkness and inclement weather. As such, both truck drivers and motorists need to remain vigilant on the road.

Causes of Rear Underride Accidents

Rear underride accidents happen when a car collides with the back of a large truck. Instead of a standard rear-end collision, the passenger vehicle travels underneath the truck, resulting in devastating damage. 

These collisions often happen when a truck is parked on the side of the road, slowing down for an intersection or railroad crossing, or entering a road too slowly. Dim or burned-out taillights can also contribute to rear underride accidents, as the motor vehicle driver may not be able to see the truck slowing down and react in time.

To prevent rear underride accidents, truck drivers must ensure that all of their truck lights are in proper working order to make themselves more visible to other drivers. Additionally, truck drivers should exercise caution when entering or exiting roads and signal their intentions to stop or turn so they can effectively warn other drivers on the road.

Other Common Causes of Underride Accidents

Underride accidents can also be caused by adverse weather conditions, such as rain, snow, or ice, which can cause drivers to lose control of their vehicles. In these situations, a car may spin out of control and collide with a large truck, resulting in an underride accident.

Other common causes of underride accidents include drivers not being able to see a truck due to poor weather conditions, tailgating a truck, or driving too fast for current road conditions. Additionally, truck drivers can contribute to underride accidents through negligence or reckless driving.

Injured by a Negligent Truck Driver? Contact an Attorney

Truck accidents can be devastating and life-altering events, and underride accidents are especially severe. If you or a loved one is injured by a negligent truck driver, you deserve accountability—and a Washington truck accident lawyer can help. As soon as possible following the accident, schedule a free consultation with an attorney to learn more about your legal options and take your first steps toward justice.