The angle of a passenger vehicle that is involved in a rear ender accident with a tractor-trailer could mean the difference between life and death for the occupants of the vehicle.This is because the underride guards that are located at the back of the tractor-trailer to protect the occupants of the passenger vehicle from serious injuries when it hits a truck don’t perform so well in many situations.
The study was conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which found that the underride guards located on the back of tractor-trailers, don’t always perform as well as expected in reducing the risk to passenger car occupants.
In some situations, these underride guards did a fairly good job.In the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety study, the researchers found that when the full width of the car hit the center of the trailer, the underride guards in all trucks prevented the front portion of the passenger vehicle from sliding under the tractor-trailer.A situation like this can mean almost instantaneous death for the occupants of a passenger vehicle, who may suffer serious head or neck injuries, or even decapitation.
In the 2nd test, only about half of the car’s width hit the back of the tractor-trailer, and in such cases, almost all of the tractor-trailers passed the test.
However, when only 30% of the car’s width hit the back of the tractor-trailer, the results were devastating. In these cases, the front portion of the car was almost entirely destroyed. The researchers believe that if this had been a real-world crash, the occupants of the vehicle could have suffered serious or fatal head and neck injuries.It is highly likely that these people would have died from their injuries.
What is so worrying is that another study by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety back in 2011, had found that as many as 50% of all tractor-trailer accidents in the real world involved a car width of 50% or less crashing into the back of the tractor-trailer.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, it is committed to protecting the lives of occupants of passenger vehicles that are involved in accidents with tractor-trailers, and is looking at the issue of underride guard safety.The agency is currently probing the possibility of making changes to existing federal safety standards to make truck underride guards safer and more effective in reducing injury and fatality occurrences.
In the meantime, motorists must avoid driving too close to a tractor-trailer.Keep plenty of stopping distance between your car and the truck in front of you to avoid an accident.