I can’t say if the accident rate for big trucks is the same as for cars, but I do know when you’re piloting something that’s 75 feet long, hitting things, or going where you’re not supposed to happens. I don’t have a hunge number of accident or damage photos, because generally when I saw other trucks getting damaged, or in a ditch, I was driving. Whipping out a phone then isn’t a nice time. And to be fair, often I was in shitty conditions, so a phone in hand is a bad, bad idea.
That being said, I have come across a few pictures of damage that might be interesting. None of these are damage I was involved in. They were all in my old yard, before my company was absorbed, and yes, I did call and check on all the damage, or report it if necessary.
This is what happens when someone hits your reefer. The doors are made so the one that’s missing tucks in under the edge of the one that’s there, and that door clips into a little wire (at the bottom where the chunk is out). When someone’s trailer takes out on door though, it messes everything up. You usually send the trailer a Thermo King dealer (or Carrier, if it’s a carrier unit) so they can ensure that there’s no damage to the parts of the reefer. Given the unit is about $40,000, not counting the trailer, these can be pretty disasterous.
Ahh, the bent cross member, usually the result of a ninja pole accident. This is actually a trailer that came to me loaded, and after I unloaded it, I went to drop it at a place to get loaded, and found this. I called it in, and it ended up going in for repairs.
I’m actually squatting on the ground here, pointing the camera up at the crossmembers, which are the braces that run across the trailer floor. You don’t usually see them unless you’re looking under the trailer, there’s a metal finish on the outside that prevents you from seeing them (and keeps them from getting damaged). That weird shiny thing you see in the bottom right is a trailer fin, the white pieces under trailers to increase efficiency.
When crossmembers are damaged like this, it creates a weak spot in a trailer. Those weak spots can cause the floor to fall out of a trailer. When you think about it, there’s a LOT of weight in a trailer. Pallets are generally 1000-2000 pounds, and the forklift going in an our of the trailer can be between 5000 and 10,000 pounds. That’s a lot of weight to be putting on one weak location, so it’s no surprise that floors will break.
This actually happened to a drive I know. There was a chain law up here in Oregon, and he’d pulled over to prepare to chain. He was in his sleeper changing into chain up clothes (chaining up is a huge process) when another truck hit him, causing this damage. The other truck’s trailer smacked into this corner, and split open, dumping kitty litter all over the road. Had the driver I knew been out chaining up, he probably would have been killed. Thankfully, he’s alive and fine, and still doing the same route.