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Common types of 18-wheeler accidents: overrides and underrides

August 12, 2009

Accidents involving 18-wheelers are some of the most devastating of all Texas car accidents. Among all the types of 18-wheeler car accidents that take place across Texas, the most dangerous are overrides and underrides. Override and underride 18-wheeler accidents virtually always result in serious, permanent injuries or death. Sadly, research has shown that more than half of all fatal 18-wheeler car accidents involve one of these two types of accidents.

An override accident occurs when an 18-wheeler runs over a vehicle. These accidents are typically the result of the 18-wheeler striking the vehicle from behind. It is not hard to imagine the damage that an 80,000 pound truck could cause when it runs over a 3,000 pound car.

An underride accident is when a vehicle crashes into an 18-wheeler from behind and continues forward, sliding underneath the tractor trailer. In underride accidents, the top of the vehicle is most often ripped off, exposing the driver’s and/or passengers’ heads to the underside of the 18-wheeler, which many times results in severe head or brain trauma or even decapitation.

The reason for this is that the average car is too tall to clear the underside of the 18-wheeler. In fact, the underside of the truck is typically at chest height of those riding in the car.

There are steps that 18-wheeler drivers can and should take to avoid underride and override accidents. These include:

  • Using reflective triangles, warning signs and flashing lights to alert drivers that the truck is broken down on or near the edge of the road
  • Ensuring that the truck’s tail lights are in working order
  • Using reflective tape on the back of the truck
  • Keeping assured clear distance from nearby cars
  • Regularly inspecting their truck’s brakes

If you or a loved one has been involved in an 18-wheeler accident, contact us today. A Texas personal injury lawyer from the Fears | Nachawati team will provide you with free legal advice on your possible personal injury or wrongful death claim. Just email us at or call us on our toll-free number at 1.866.705.7584 for a free consultation. 


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