Oversize truckloads are nothing new. They’ve been overstuffing trucks with stuff for as long as there have been trucks. You have probably seen a bright, black and yellow banner that bears the words “oversize load” on a truck before. This type of truck usually carries industrial equipment, a mobile home, or a steel shipping container. Some of these trucks exceed their capacity. Due to the varying sizes and weights of industrial equipment and homes, this is bound to happen from time to time.
This can result in accidents, injuries, and even deaths in some cases. It also causes millions of dollars’ worth of losses as well when taken together. However, we have learned many things over the hundred years that trucks have been on the road. Hence, we can now identify the dangers associated with overstuffing trucks. So here are a few practices that you should watch out for and protect yourself and your cargo.
Increased Stopping Distance
Increased stopping distance is a problem that is inherent to oversize hauling in general. Larger mass means greater momentum, which means a greater force needed to stop a moving body. The average stopping distance for a loaded tractor-trailer is 196 feet. This is compared to 133 feet for a passenger vehicle. In general, stopping distance increases by 25% for every 20,000 pounds added after the first 80,000 pounds. That’s the upper legal limit for normal load sizes. Hence, it shouldn’t ever be exceeded without proper precautions.
What are the Dangers of Oversize Hauling?
Height and Clearance
Oversize hauling can come in a lot of big shapes and sizes. Due to the excessive loads, they may have problems clearing bridges and obstacles. Drivers hauling extra tall loads have to travel on specific routes as to not cause damage. If the height of the bridge or obstacle isn’t judged correctly, the load could collide with it.
Greater Probability of Crashes
Crashes and fatality risks increase with the weight of oversize hauling trucks. A study from the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute showed trucks weighing 80,000 pounds or more were 50% more likely to be involved in a fatal accident. This was in comparison to trucks that were carrying weights less than 65,000 pounds.
Common Types of Crashes Associated with Oversize Loads
Rollover Crashes: Rollover crashes involve a trip over while turning. This can happen while getting on or off-ramps or on intersections. Disregarding weight restrictions or lack of proper weight distribution causes rollovers.
Blown Tires: Oversize loads also get so heavy that a tire can burst. This is much more likely to happen in the case of illegally overloading a truck.
Jackknife Crashes: When a truck’s cab and trailer fold together at a sharp angle, it can cause jackknifing. This can result in the loss of control of the truck. This usually occurs due to the distraction or fatigue of a driver. The occurrence is made much more likely by oversize hauling.