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What Are The Dangers of Overloading a Truck?

Posted on December 6, 2021

Commercial trucks are made for hauling cargo, but there is a limit to what they can carry. If these limits are surpassed, the risk of an accident drastically increases.

High Rollover Risk

Due to their high profile and already high rollover risk, an overloaded truck is in even more danger of rolling over. Because of the extra heavy cargo, these trucks can be even more challenging to control. Over-steering, sudden braking, swerving harder than necessary, speeding, etc., can quickly cause an imbalance that leads to a rollover accident. When a truck rolls, it risks spilling the cargo onto the roadway. Spilled cargo can create all kinds of potentially deadly situations. Hard goods can obstruct the road and pose a hazard to other drivers. Liquid cargo can slick the roadways, and toxic or flammable cargo can poison the air or ignite, leading to a deadly fire or explosion.

Increased Chance of Mechanical Failures

More weight than a truck is designed to carry can cause many types of mechanical failures that lead to truck accidents.

  • Transmission Failure: Overloading or improper loading of cargo on large trucks is the number one cause of transmission failure.
  • Tire Blowouts or Failure: Due to the excess weight, a tire can suddenly blow out or fail, especially if the tires are thin, overinflated, under-inflated, punctured, or if the roads are wet from the rain.
  • Steering or Suspension Failure: Overloaded cargo is a common cause of problems with the steering column and suspension.

Braking Distance is Affected

Commercial trucks need more time to reach a complete stop than other vehicles, possibly twice as much distance. An overloaded truck requires even more space to stop because the increased weight adds to the momentum. The longer braking time can overtax the system, leading to brake failure or the vehicle’s inability to stop in time.

What Should I Do If I See An Overloaded Truck?

If it looks like a truck is overloaded, it is struggling to slow down, or the driver is having trouble maintaining control, do not stay behind the vehicle. Slow down and pass safely in the left lane to avoid the risk of any debris falling that can cause you to crash. If you believe that the vehicle is an immediate danger to others on the road, you can pull over to a safe area and notify the police by calling 911 or the highway patrol.

Speak to a Truck Accident Lawyer Today

Most trucking companies and their truck drivers are responsible for ensuring a truck is maintained and properly loaded. If they fail to observe strong maintenance practices, knowingly or they should have known a truck is overloaded and it causes an accident, the truck driver, the trucking company, the loading company, or possibly other third parties may be liable.

If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident with an overloaded truck, the driver and possibly their trucking company have broken the law. You may be entitled to compensation for your losses. At Rosenbaum & Associates, our Philadelphia big rig accident attorneys has extensive experience fighting for victims’ rights and recovering the compensation they deserve. Call (215) 569-0200 or send us a message online to schedule a free consultation.