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Spilled truck cargo: A big problem for smaller vehicles

Driving between Seattle and Vancouver can be a beautiful, relatively quick trip. However, you can face a serious detour if you wind up injured in a crash caused by spilled cargo. Because commercial vehicles often use these same routes, knowing the risks that cargo can present is crucial.

Why does cargo spill?

Cargo in trucks can spill for several reasons, many of which are the result of negligence on someone’s part. Some examples of why cargo spills include:

  • Improper securing or containment of cargo
  • Improper loading 
  • Overloading
  • Failed truck maintenance
  • Reckless driving by the trucker
  • Violations of cargo securement rules in British Columbia or the U.S.

Several parties could be responsible for spills, from the people who load the cargo to the trucking company that fails to enforce proper regulations.

How cargo spills endanger others

When cargo spills, it can create serious risks to other motorists and others in the area.

If cargo includes toxic materials, people can suffer illness from exposure. If it clutters up the roadway, it can block lanes, causing drivers to swerve or slam on their brakes. If spills make the roads wet or slippery, there can be a loss of friction, making it incredibly difficult to operate a vehicle. 

Further, explosions and extensive property damage can put drivers and other road users at risk of catastrophic injuries.

Avoiding these crashes

Unfortunately, it is not always possible to avoid these accidents. They happen without warning, and it can be impossible to safely steer clear of roadway hazards. 

However, there are some ways you can reduce your risk and give yourself the best chance of avoiding severe injuries. For instance, you can:

  • Keep a safe distance behind commercial trucks
  • Avoid speeding 
  • Pay attention to slowed traffic and roadway obstacles
  • Refrain from driving in a truck’s blind spots 
  • Watch for swaying trucks due to sharp turns or high winds

These precautions can keep you safe if cargo should spill.

Holding these parties accountable

If a road trip turns into a trip to the hospital because of spilled cargo, injured drivers should know that compensation may be available for their economic and non-economic damages. Working with an attorney to identify the responsible party and file a claim can aid in this recovery.