When it comes to moving freight around the country, the trucking industry accounts for more than 70% of all the goods transported throughout the United States (Business Insider). Accordingly, passenger vehicles need to constantly share the road with tractor-trailers and other large trucks. Accidents involving these trucks continually result in devastating injuries or deaths. The unfortunate reality is that truck wrecks might be caused by something entirely out of your control. It’s a good idea to educate yourself on what could go wrong so you can be aware and alert while on the road. Below we explore some of the most common types of truck accidents.


Any large truck with a pivot joint or trailer connected is considered an articulated vehicle. Jackknife accidents take place when the front of the articulated vehicle, sometimes known as the cab, stops moving in unison with the trailer. The trailer might swing towards the cab resulting in the formation of an “L” or “V” shape with the front of the truck. The jackknife name is derived from the act of folding a pocket knife closed because it resembles how this accident might look. A jackknifing situation is extremely dangerous to anyone or anything in its way. There are many preventative measures truck drivers can take such as breaking ahead of time, allowing ample stopping distance and ensuring the rig is fixed to the trailer in order to avoid a jackknife crash.


Rear-end accidents are considered one of the most common types of commercial truck accidents. Truck drivers must be extra careful while driving because these vehicles are large and slow to maneuver. Drivers need to leave adequate space to slow down in time without crashing into the vehicle in front of them. When this time difference is not accounted for, the consequences are serious. The sheer weight of a truck can lead to a passenger vehicle being crushed upon impact. Truck rear-end collisions are also more likely to result in multi-vehicle crashes because their weight can push the vehicle they rear-end into another vehicle.


Although the chances of crashing into an 18-wheeler head-on are pretty low, the consequences of these types of accidents are typically fatal. In 2019 head-on accidents accounted for about 29% of the deaths caused by large trucks. (IIHS) Head-on truck collisions occur when the front end of a truck crashes into the front end of another vehicle driving the opposite direction. The large truck could collide straight-on with the passenger vehicle causing catastrophic injuries and damages.

Truck Roll-over

A truck roll-over accident occurs when the truck’s center of gravity is disrupted enough for the truck to knock over. This type of accident could result in the truck rolling to either side just once or rolling over multiple times. The overturn of a large commercial vehicle causes the truck itself as well as any cargo to become a hazard for other vehicles on the road. Tractor-trailers are especially vulnerable to roll-overs due to their high center of gravity. On sharp and fast turns truck drivers need to be aware of the possibility of a roll over and make certain there are no unstable loads aboard their vehicle.


When a truck is traveling side-by-side in the same direction as another vehicle a sideswipe accident might take place if their sides strike into one another. If the truck driver forgets to check their blidspots before merging or switching lanes it can pose the risk for a sideswipe accident. This type of accident can be especially dangerous if the sideswiped car is pushed into other lanes or potentially off the road. Since trucks have larger blindspots they are at a higher risk for sideswipe accidents.

Wide Turn

Trucks are unable to make turns the same ways smaller vehicles can due to their size. It can be tricky to maneuver a large truck to successfully make a tight turn. When a truck is turning right it will likely need to swing into the left lane.  Cars might have to move over or make room for the trucker to get by. As a result cars can get trapped between the truck and the curb or the truck can hit another car at the intersection.


Another name for a T-bone accident is a broadside collision. Most T-bone accidents occur at intersections when a driver fails to yield to the vehicle who has the right of way. Vehicles traveling in perpendicular directions create the T-bone shape when the vehicle straight-on hits the side of another vehicle. T-bone accidents involving large trucks are some of the most fatal because the sides of vehicles have a lot less protection than the front or rear. The size of large commercial vehicles and 18-wheelers make passengers especially vulnerable to serious injuries in a broadside collision.

Truck Driver Negligence

Truck drivers might be negligent in numerous ways. In addition to basic traffic laws, truck drivers must follow specific federal and state trucking regulations. If truckers violate any of these they can be held accountable for the common types of accidents mentioned above. Some examples of driver negligence include:

  • Fatigue/Overtired driving
  • Distracted driving
  • Impaired driving
  • Speeding
  • Improper cargo loading
  • Improper maintenance/inspection

The truck accident attorneys at Cavanaugh & Thickens have in-depth knowledge of specific regulations regarding trucking law in SC, as well as the defense tactics trucking companies might use. Our team will help you investigate the causes and determine liability to ensure you obtain the compensation you deserve after a truck accident. If you or a loved one have been injured in a truck accident in South Carolina, contact our experienced legal team to learn more about your options.