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Cargo tank trucks carry higher risk of rollover

Anyone driving next to a tanker truck probably wonders whether such close proximity puts them in danger. The answer is yes: There is the risk of rollover and the flammable or hazardous material being transported. Missouri drivers should know that cargo tank trucks are more likely to flip than other types of tractor-trailers.

Load shifting is a common risk when any cargo is being transferred from point to point. When cargo shifts, it can cause instability and make controlling the vehicle challenging or, in the case of rollover, impossible. Because tanker trucks are transporting liquid, the load is constantly shifting. With each turn, lane change or braking maneuver, the liquid sloshes from side to side or crashes forward to change the dynamics of vehicle stability. Factoring in a higher physical profile than most other trailers makes cargo tanks much more susceptible to a rollover crash than almost any other vehicle on the highway.

While one might correctly surmise that exit and entry ramps put tanker trucks at particular risk for rollovers, drivers typically pay close attention at those points in transit; a higher percentage of rollovers happens on mostly straight roads where operators get distracted and drive less carefully than weather or road conditions dictate. While 78 percent of rollover incidents are caused by driver error, the specifics are quite varied with hard-braking, rapid lane changes, high curbs and soft shoulders all being risk factors. The most common element in cargo tank rollovers is unsafe speed. Entering a curve or starting a steep downgrade too quickly can be a deadly mistake for a tanker driver.

Every type of big truck is a major risk to motorists. The size and weight difference between passenger vehicles and tractor-trailers means that when they come together, it is usually much more serious than a simple fender bender. Consulting a qualified truck accident lawyer may provide crash victims the knowledge and guidance needed to get compensation for their losses.