Earlier this year, a 35-year-old woman relocated to Williamson County with her husband and two children to take a new job. Sadly, on October 9 she lost her life in a four-vehicle crash on I-65 near Saturn Parkway (Highway 396), when her 2016 Jeep struck a tractor-trailer head-on, causing both car and truck to burst into flames.
According to the Tennessee Highway Patrol, the accident occurred when her Jeep and another car, a Nissan — both traveling northbound on I-65 — crossed the median and entered the southbound lanes. The Nissan struck a Hyundai head-on, while her Jeep collided with a tractor-trailer, the latter two vehicles coming to rest in a wooded area.
She passed away at the scene, and two other victims were flown to the hospital after a pair of medical helicopters were dispatched to the site. In total, four other people—the three drivers and one passenger—were injured in the fiery collision.
Head-On Tractor-Trailer Crashes Frequently Fatal
As one might expect, head-on collisions like the one(s) described above are among the most deadly accidents. Despite accounting for just two percent of all traffic accidents, more than ten percent of all fatal accidents are head-on collisions.
Head-on collisions involving tractor-trailers trucks are even more dangerous, owing to their size and weight. A loaded tractor-trailer can weigh up to 80,000 lbs. (40 tons), as compared to the average automobile, which weighs approximately 5,000 lbs.
Common Types of Tractor-Trailer Accidents
Not surprisingly, size and weight play a significant role in some of the most common types of tractor-trailer accidents. For example:
- Occur when the trailer “comes around” on the tractor
- Most commonly happen on wet or icy roads
- Can also occur when a trailer is empty and the driver brakes hard
- Occur when cargo falls out of the trailer onto the roadway
- A few weeks ago, cows spilled out of a tractor-trailer on Briley Parkway, requiring intervention by Animal Control.
- Not only are motorists at risk of hitting the cargo, they often collide with other vehicles while attempting to move out of the way.
- Occur when a truck veers into an adjacent lane and strikes another vehicle
- Tractor-trailers are approximately 70 feet long and have sizeable blind-spots, which are in the rear and along the sides of the truck.
- Hence, the “if you can’t see my mirrors, I can’t see you” stickers you often see on the back of tractor-trailers.
- Occur when a car strikes a tractor-trailer and goes underneath the trailer.
- Injuries in this type of crash are often very severe, as the rear of the truck is roughly the same height as the motorist’s head and torso.
- Happen when a truck driver doesn’t have enough time to stop before hitting the car (or cars) in front of him.
- We recently wrote about an example of this type of accident, where Good Samaritans came to the aid of victims of an eight-vehicle crash.
- In another recent case, a fatigued FedEx driver caused an eight-vehicle pileup on I-24 West.
Causes of Tractor-Trailer Accidents
If you or a family member has been a victim of a tractor-trailer accident in Nashville, you should contact an experienced truck accident lawyer immediately. Common causes of tractor-trailer crashes include:
- Driver fatigue
- Inadequate or improper maintenance
- Distracted driving
- Inadequate or improper training
It’s imperative that your attorney has experience representing the victims of trucking accidents so s/he focuses on the most important issues related to truck accident liability.
Also, as we noted on our Nashville truck accident attorneys page, because of the complicated relationship between shippers, freight companies, equipment owners and truck drivers, it is often possible to identify multiple defendants whose insurers may be responsible for a victim’s injuries.
If you have a legal question or believe you have a truck accident case, we encourage you to contact us or call us at 615.256.6666 for a free, no obligation consultation. We will fight to get you justice.