A sideswipe crash happens when the side of one vehicle collides with (or “swipes”) the side of another. These collisions are also sometimes called a “blind spot accident” or a “glancing blow” because of how the crash typically occurs. These crashes often happen during lane changes and merges. They can also occur when a truck sideswipes a vehicle approaching from the opposite direction.
Semis have a much higher risk of being involved in a side swipe crash than a car or other smaller passenger vehicle. 18 wheelers and other big truck have large blind spots to the front, behind and on the right and left sides. This means that the truck driver cannot always see vehicles ahead of them or in adjacent lanes making merging changing lanes, making turns or other maneuvers more dangerous.
The right side blind spot can extend across two traffic lanes. Due in part to this blind spot, trucks have a harder time moving safely from the left lane to the right lane than from the right lane into the left lane. Not surprisingly, sideswipe collisions involving the right side of the truck happen much more often than sideswipes involving the left side of the truck.
Blind spot detection systems which warn drivers of a vehicle in the blind spots are available. Newer trucks may come equipped with these. These are also available to as retrofits to add this safety technology to older trucks. Nevertheless many trucks on the road still do not have this technology.
What happens in a sideswipe truck crash is different than many other kinds of truck wreck. For example in typical rear-end, broadside or head-on truck wrecks the front of the truck crashes directly into the vehicle it hits, often causing dramatic damage to the vehicle hit with the occupants potentially receiving fatal or catastrophic injury. In a sideswipe crash the contact seems to be more like sliding contact which may result in less dramatic physical damage to vehicle which is sideswiped. In some cases marks or gouges from the semi’s lug nuts can be seen on the vehicle which it struck. Some sideswipe collisions can be extremely serious forcing the vehicle which is sideswiped off the road and, in some cases down an embankment potentially causing catastrophic injury or wrongful death.
Causes of Truck Sideswipe Accidents
Sideswipe truck collision causes include:
- Blind spots
- Driver inattention
- Not anticipating lane mergers
- Not properly signaling lane changes
- Failure to keep the truck in a single traffic lane
- Lack of familiarity with the route being traveled
- Improperly adjusted mirrors
A truck driver’s behavior can add to the risk. Common driving behaviors that lead to truck sideswipes are:
- Distracted driving (especially using cellphones while driving)
- Unsafe lane changing (not checking mirrors, not using signals, etc.)
- Fatigue or drowsiness
- Reckless driving
Trucking companies have to train their drivers to avoid risky driving behavior. However, truck drivers involved in thse accidents may be lacking training, and others were simply negligent.
Prevalence of Sideswipe Crashes
Hundreds of thousands of sideswipe accidents occur in the US each year. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, in 2013 alone, there were a total of 629,000 sideswipe crashes, accounting for 11.1% of all the vehicle crashes in the country. Of these sideswipe collisions, 89,000 caused injuries and 757 led to fatalities.According to one study sideswipes represent approximately 10% of all large truck crashes.
Claiming Compensation for Truck Sideswipe Injuries
Even though sideswipe accidents lead to a significant number of injuries, in some cases it may be difficult to prove who was at fault. Insurance companies may dispute injury claims from these crashes. There is a notion that a glancing blow does not cause as severe damage as those from more direct impacts. However, numerous sideswipe accident victims have sustained serious injuries such as whiplash, head trauma, neck and spine injuries. In many cases, sideswipe injuries also lead to deaths.
This is why when claiming compensation for truck sideswipe injuries, you need a highly competent lawyer to help you. Flick Law Firm can provide the legal service you need. For over two decades now, we have been successfully serving clients in Missouri and Kansas helping them get recoveries for accidents like yours. Contact Flick Law Firm today for your free consultation.