Imagine you’re driving down the highway behind several trucks. Normally, trucks don’t bother you, you just try to pass them as quickly as possible and be on your merry way. However, today is different. There’s a torrential downpour and you can barely see 10 feet in front of you. So, being the safe driver that you are, you slow down in order to increase the distance between yourself and the semi convoy; and it’s a good thing you do, because all hell is about to break loose.
You hear it before you can see it—brakes screeching, metal scraping, horns honking, and a sickening crunch.
You immediately slam on your brakes, and as you skid to a halt, you see the outline of two semis through the sheet of rain. The first one is perpendicular to the road and the second one is jackknifed into the trailer of the first. The two drivers jump out of their cabs and frantically run toward oncoming traffic, waving their arms and screaming.
Before you have a second to react, you hear an explosion and see sparks start to fly out of it. After a few more seconds you realize the sparks are actually fireworks. You duck as one flies past your window. As you slowly look up, you see that the tank on the second truck is leaking something bright yellow that starts to steam as it hits the wet ground. The truckers are screaming at you to get out of the car, but you just sit there in dread, wishing you hadn’t gotten on the highway that morning.
Think this situation is too far-fetched to ever happen? Think that avoiding a truck collision is the worst of your problems? Unfortunately, as dozens of Michiganders regretfully discovered, compromised cargo can be just as dangerous as the collision itself.
Dangers of Compromised Cargo in a Truck Accident
On January 9, 2015, slippery roads in Southwest Michigan caused several trucks to spinout and jackknife causing a massive 150 car pileup on I-94. Unfortunately, the jackknifed trucks weren’t the worst problem. Two of the trucks involved in the pileup were carrying extremely dangerous cargo: fireworks and hazardous material. The truck containing fireworks caught on fire and exploded, resulting in an awesome display of fire power. Then the truck carrying the hazardous material was compromised, causing the material to leak onto the highway. As a result of the initial accident, the ignited fireworks and the “unknown” hazardous material, one person died and 23 were seriously injured.
Still think it’s too far-fetched?
According to a United States Census Bureau investigation on the transportation of hazardous materials, thousands of trucks a year carry potentially dangerous cargo across the United States without the requirement of physical warning to other motorists. Although they’re required to be safely stored and monitored, a collision can quickly cause these materials to become deadly. Potential risks include:
- Chemical fires
- Deadly projectiles (fireworks or ammunition can explode and shoot out of the container)
- Chemical exposure
- Suffocation (due to chemicals or gas)
- Radiation exposure
- Exposure to infectious substances
Hopefully, the next time you follow a truck too closely or attempt to pass it too soon, you’ll think about what that truck could be carrying, and how its contents may affect you and your family if an accident should occur.
Preventing Future Accidents
Suffering through a car accident can be extremely traumatic. In addition to the accident itself and any aftermath effects, you still have to risk your future by taking your chances with your insurance company. However, having the support and guidance of an experienced accident lawyer will go far in lessening your claim risks.
Contact us today for a free consultation and review of your case. We know how frustrating and complicated car accident claims can be, especially when so many things can make or break your case. Let our experience and knowledge work for you. You deserve to be compensated for your injuries, and we’ll help make that happen. Call today!