Auto Accidents Caused By Overloaded Cargo in Minnesota
Overloaded trucks and trailers can pose a serious problem on roads in Minnesota. They are a significant cause of highway accidents that often result in severe injuries and even fatalities.
Why are Overloaded Trucks Dangerous?
Overloaded and improperly loaded trucks should not be on the road due to the following dangers
Braking Distance is Affected
Commercial trucks can require twice as much distance as a passenger vehicle to reach a complete stop. An overloaded truck will need even more time and space due to the increased weight. As a result, the vehicle may not be able to stop in time to avoid an accident, or the brakes can fail.
Difficult to Control
Because of the extra heavy cargo, trucks can be even more difficult to steer and maintain control of, increasing the chance of a severe accident.
Unstable Weight Distribution
Unstable weight distribution can result in many types of mechanical failures that lead to truck accidents. For example:
Transmission Failure: Overloaded or improperly loaded cargo is the number one cause of transmission failure.
Tire Blowouts or Failure: A tire can suddenly fail or blow out.
Steering or Suspension Failure: Unstable weight distribution is a common cause of steering column and suspension problems. If the steering column or suspension fails, the driver could lose control of the vehicle.
High Rollover Risk
Large trucks and trailers have a high profile, making them at an already high risk of rolling over. An overloaded truck has an even higher chance of rolling over. If a driver over-steers, brakes suddenly, swerves harder than necessary, speeds, etc., it can quickly cause the truck to tilt off balance, leading to a rollover accident. When a truck rolls, the cargo can spill onto the roadway, creating a potentially deadly situation. Other drivers can crash into hard goods obstructing their path, liquid cargo can make the road slick, and if there is toxic or flammable cargo, it can poison the air or result in a deadly fire or explosion.
What is the Maximum Weight Limit for a Truck in Minnesota?
In Minnesota, the maximum weight limit for commercial trucks is 80,000 pounds. There are weigh stations set up on the interstates to perform random checks and ensure trucking companies and owners adhere to this limit. However, truck drivers are often issued a ticket if their vehicle is over the weight limit then allowed back on the road.
What Should I Do If I See An Overloaded Truck?
If you see an obviously overloaded truck or improperly loaded cargo, slow down and safely pass the vehicle in the left lane. Avoid any risk of the debris falling and causing you to crash. Sometimes, the danger may not be apparent, but be alert for any trucks that are struggling to slow down, are drifting, or if it looks as if the driver is having trouble maintaining control. Call 911 if you see a truck that you believe is an immediate danger to others on the road.