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Why are underride crashes usually catastrophic?

On Behalf of | Nov 2, 2023 | Car Accidents |

While any car accident can be catastrophic, one type in particular can be especially dangerous — the underride crash.

It’s essential to understand why these types of crashes are so devastating, how they happen, and how you may be able to prevent them.

What is an underride crash?

An underride crash occurs when a smaller vehicle, such as a car or motorcycle, slides underneath the trailer of a much larger vehicle, like a semi-truck. In 2021, more than 400 people died due to an underride crash. There are several reasons why this type of accident usually results in severe injuries or fatalities, including:

  • Size disparity: The massive size of a semi-truck means that a smaller vehicle can get wedged underneath. The force of the collision causes the car’s roof to collapse.
  • Ineffective safety features: Passenger vehicles have multiple safety features to protect the occupants in a collision with another car. However, these same features aren’t activated when a car slides under a truck.
  • Speed: Most underride crashes happen on the highway, where vehicles drive fast. The speed the vehicle slides under the truck and becomes wedged amplifies the force of the collision.

These accidents usually happen when the larger vehicle is making a turn, stops suddenly, or even if it’s parked and the smaller vehicle cannot stop in time to avoid collision.

To prevent these types of accidents from occurring, semi trucks have rear guards to prevent cars from sliding underneath in a rear-end collision. Still, trucking companies need to do more. Several senators have repeatedly put forth legislation requiring semi-trucks to have underride guards on the side, but the bill hasn’t made it any further.

Victims who survive underride crashes typically suffer from life-changing injuries. Compensation can help provide financial security while they recover.