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Understanding Underride Accidents


Almost 50 years ago, actress Jayne Mansfield was killed when her car crashed into the rear of a tractor-trailer. This may be the most famous underride accident — one in which a car slides under a large truck, often shearing the automobile’s roof. Underrides are among the most dangerous of all truck accidents.

A response to this problem has been rear impact guards. Required on all truck trailers manufactured after 1993, the guards are fastened to the back of semis or 18-wheelers and are intended to prevent cars from sliding beneath the truck in a collision. However, recent tests conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that rear impact guards fail crash performance tests in a number of ways. Many rear guards were not strong enough to withstand the impact of a collision because of defects or installation problems.

To reduce the risk of an underride crash, you need to understand that trucks do not behave like cars. Keep safe by:

  • Avoid the truck’s blind spots. These danger zones are on all sides of the truck. You are in a blind spot if your car is too close to the truck to be visible in the truck’s mirrors.
  • Be careful when merging onto highways. Merging onto a highway too slowly can be as dangerous as merging too quickly. When traveling at highway speeds, a large truck cannot slow down in time to accommodate a car that is creeping into traffic.
  • Keep a safe distance between you and the truck. Not only are you in a blind spot when following too closely, you run a greater risk of a dangerous underride accident. Try to keep 20 car lengths between you and the back of the truck.

If you or a family member has been injured in an underride accident, a Stipe Law Firm lawyer can help you pursue compensation for your serious injuries. Contact us today!