Auto accidents can be caused by any number of different circumstances. Drivers must be prepared for sudden obstacles they may encounter on the road, but they often forget about obstacles on their own vehicle. When cargo is not properly secured, it can catch drivers by surprise and result in an accident. Falling items can damage other cars and cause deadly wrecks.
The American Automobile Association (AAA) estimates that unsecured cargo is a factor in two-thirds of debris-related accidents. This amounted to more than 200,000 accidents from 2011 to 2014, resulting in 500 fatalities and 39,000 injuries. June 6 was designated as national Secure Your Load Day to raise awareness of the hazards of improperly secured cargo. In South Carolina, driving with an unsecured load is a misdemeanor with a fine of $100, so it is even more critical for drivers in the state to observe safe loading practices.
Learning how to properly load a vehicle is the first step, and it may be counterintuitive to some. Lighter items should go on the bottom, with heavier items on top to hold them in place. Cargo should be tied down tightly and covered with a tarp or net. Any large objects should be tied directly to the vehicle to anchor them in place. Drivers should also be careful not to overload their vehicle, even if this results in multiple trips.
Accidents caused by unsecured cargo most often involve trucks, but any vehicle carrying items on its exterior can become a liability. The most common cargo involved in these accidents includes construction materials, household items such as furniture or mattresses, and car parts such as tires. These items can be found littering the sides of highways, illustrating how easy it is for them to fall from moving vehicles. Falling cargo can strike nearby vehicles or land in the road, requiring drivers to stop or swerve suddenly and potentially cause an accident.
It is not just items that fall off vehicles that can cause accidents, however. Even in enclosed trucks, loose items can be extremely dangerous, as they can make trucks more prone to rollover accidents. Cargo can shift as the truck moves, particularly if they make a sharp turn, which can redistribute the weight in the trailer to one side. This can cause the trailer to hinge sharply at the cab or tip over.
Drivers who are moving large amounts of cargo must ensure that it is properly loaded and secured in order to prevent devastating accidents. This includes making sure items stay put during the trip and checking the integrity of ropes and tarps to ensure they do not fail. It is important to check periodically that everything is still secured properly during the trip. Skipping vital safety steps to meet deadlines or maximize efficiency can have deadly consequences.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a debris-related accident, call the South Carolina car accident lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A.. Our knowledgeable, experienced lawyers will thoroughly review the facts of your case to determine who is at fault and get you the compensation to which you are entitled. With offices conveniently located in Columbia, Charleston, Rock Hill, Aiken, Florence, and Sumter, we serve clients throughout South Carolina. Call us today at 800-531-9780 or contact us online for a free consultation with a Columbia car accident lawyer.
We represent clients in Columbia, Aiken, Camden, Sumter, Orangeburg, Greenville, Florence, Beaufort, Irmo, Spartanburg, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island, West Columbia, Rock Hill, Charleston, Lexington, Winnsboro, Summerville, and throughout the counties of Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Charleston County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Spartanburg County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County.