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An overloaded big rig poses an unexpected danger on the road

Sometimes traveling next to a semitruck can make you feel a bit uneasy. Is it your imagination, or is that big rig edging closer to you?

Seeing little more than the shape of a massive grill in your rearview mirror can make your heart skip a beat when a huge truck suddenly seems about to swallow your compact car. 

Size advantage

A commercial truck is at least two or three times the size of your passenger vehicle and many tons heavier. When the truck is overloaded, it becomes a dangerous and unpredictable weapon. The cargo can shift, causing the truck to become unstable and difficult for the driver to control. A load that is off balance can cause a rollover accident; the tractor-trailer could squash your little car in the blink of an eye.

Downhill dangers

Driver control also becomes an issue when an overloaded truck is traveling down an incline. The added weight will cause the braking distance to increase, and the driver might misjudge the stopping distance. When you stop at a light at the bottom of the incline, an out-of-control big rig barreling down the hill might have no other option than to run into you.

Signs of overloading

If you observe tire wear on a big rig, it could mean that the truck has a history of being overloaded. Tires run hotter and failure rates are more frequent with an increased load. Another sign of overloaded cargo is a rear end that sags in the middle. Loose steering may account for your feeling that the truck is edging closer to you: It may not be your imagination.

Regulation violations

An overloaded big rig violates both state and federal regulations. If you and your vehicle were involved in an accident with such a truck, the driver, the trucking company and possibly other parties could be held liable in terms of compensation for any injuries you sustain. The best advice is to be alert to unexpected trouble. 

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