It doesn't matter if you're just learning to drive or if you've been driving for decades, following or passing a truck is scary. Truck accidents are one of the worst traffic accidents you can have because they can cause catastrophic and, more often than you may realize, fatal damage, especially if it involves an underride collision.
Underride collisions occur when a smaller vehicle (such as a car or motorcycle) rear ends or collides into the side of a semi truck and becomes wedged underneath the trailer. These types of accidents are almost always catastrophic and, if not fatal, cause extreme injuries to those unlucky enough to be in the front seats.
Considering the horrendous outcomes that a truck accident can cause, being a little worried when driving next to them isn't anything to be ashamed of. Especially when you consider your personal risks of suffering.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety takes truck accidents and underride collisions extremely seriously. As a result, it has worked with the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to conduct extensive studies on truck safety and the importance of underride guards, as well as collected vital statistics on truck and underride accident risks. Their data helps put your driving risks into perspective:
- Approximately 4,000 fatal truck accidents occur each year
- An estimated 77,000 truck accidents a year result in major injuries
- Side underride collisions make up an estimated 22% of truck accidents
- Rear end collisions make up nearly 15% of truck accidents
- Underride guards are an essential countermeasure for underride accidents and fatalities
- Underride guards decrease fatalities by 20%
While certain large trucks are required by law to have rear underride guards, some guards are better than others. Also, trucks are not yet required to have side or front underride guards, leaving plenty of room for these devastating accidents. Keep this in mind the next time you approach a big rig on the highway and keep your distance.