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The Dangers of Tow Truck Accidents and How to Avoid Them

Every year, accidents involving large vehicles account for thousands of injuries and deaths. One such vehicle that is frequently involved in such accidents are tow trucks.

Tow Truck Accident Facts

Just like any other type of accident, they can be caused by any number of factors. The size differences in tow trucks and other vehicles are so great that accidents involving the two generally lead to severe injuries for those in the smaller vehicle.

Many factors can lead to accidents between tow trucks and passenger vehicles. They can include:

  • Fatigue
  • Being under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol
  • Faulty equipment
  • Failing to secure cargo properly
  • Excessive load weight
  • Inexperienced drivers

Possible Injuries from Tow Truck Accidents

When vehicle accidents occur, it is typical for the driver of the larger vehicle to survive the accident (even if they are injured); whereas, those in passenger vehicles usually suffer much more serious injuries and often death.

Numerous injuries can result from a tow truck accident. These include:

  • Brain trauma
  • Burns and deep bruises from seatbelts
  • Broken bones (including ribs, arms and wrists, skulls)
  • Damage to nerves
  • Psychological effects (including PTSD and panic disorders for years afterward)
  • Traumatic brain injuries

How you can Work to Avoid Being Involved in a Tow Truck Accident

Tow truck accidents are not always caused by those who drive them. The size of tow trucks can make it difficult for them to see; therefore, there are steps that passenger vehicle drivers can take to make it safer to be on the road.

Blind Spots
All large vehicles have blind spots where a driver simply cannot see what is going on around them. While experienced and properly trained drivers can feel when there's a vehicle in their blind spot (as well as how to avoid hitting said vehicle) less experienced drivers may not. Moreover, there is no way for fellow drivers to know who has experience and who doesn't. The safest policy is to avoid getting in a driver's blind spot.

Larger trucks tend to have swing wider when making turns. To do this, they often need to use two lanes and swing out. As the driver of a smaller vehicle, you should avoid getting in the opening left lane when a truck is turning. Not only can you not be seen in this spot, but it can also be easy for trucks to crush smaller vehicles in this gap as they complete the turn. While the drivers of large trucks should be aware of other cars on the road (and signal they're turning) they sometimes fail to do so.

Jackknifing is not a driving condition that you can prevent—you just need to be hyperaware of the larger vehicles on the road with you so you're not involved in the accident. Large vehicles, like tow trucks, can jackknife because of brakes (both malfunctions and sudden braking) and road conditions (i.e. slippery or uneven), for example.

Stopping Power
Since tow trucks can weigh as much as 10,000 lbs., this means they carry a lot of momentum. Therefore, when trying to stop, they need a larger amount of roadway to stop than a passenger vehicle does. This means that you need to make sure you give larger vehicles plenty of room to stop on the road. Failure to do so could end up causing collisions or jackknifing.

What Makes Tow Truck Accidents So Dangerous?

Tow trucks are large vehicles—and they have to be to perform their jobs—used to transport other vehicles that are not drivable or to transport undriven vehicles to dealerships and homes in a new condition. In fact, tow trucks average around 10,000 pounds, which are easily heavy enough to crush normal vehicles. In addition to being large vehicles, tow trucks can also prove difficult to drive.

Being involved in an auto accident is never any fun and at Knoxville's Gilreath & Associates, we understand how it feels to be involved in traumatic events. In addition, we feel that victims should be able to receive the compensation they deserve for injuries, medical expenses and lost wages. To learn more, continue browsing our blog and Tennessee Personal Injury Guide, or contact Tennessee car accident attorneys today to discuss your case.

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