Although they are important in transporting goods and cargo in and out of South Carolina, oversize loads also carry the potential for catastrophic roadway crashes. There are a range of factors that could cause oversize load accidents that involve passenger vehicles. If a truck carrying an oversized load caused you harm, our experienced Columbia truck accident lawyers at The Louthian Law Firm will apply their resources and experience to pursue the compensation you deserve.
What Could Occur When Passenger Vehicles Become Involved in Oversize Load Accidents?
The force of impact in a collision involving an oversize load truck and a passenger car could cause severe harm to the smaller vehicle’s occupants. An accident could occur during which the truck never actually strikes another vehicle. Even the most cautious passenger vehicle drivers may be unable to react in time if improperly secured cargo suddenly falls from an overloaded truck.
Although the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) limits the weight a truck may carry on the Palmetto State’s roads, a trucking company may intentionally or unintentionally overload their vehicle beyond the permitted weight. Tires have a limit to the weight they can support. An overloaded truck could lead to a blowout on a busy roadway and a loss of driver control. The result could be a multi-vehicle pileup.
Some other issues related to truck dimensions and weight that could lead to oversize load accidents include:
- Rollovers: Poorly distributed weight in overloaded trailers could cause them to tip over into the path of oncoming traffic.
- Jackknifes: An imbalanced and excessive cargo load could cause a cab and its attached trailer to swing toward each other. The trailer could then intrude into an adjacent lane and strike other vehicles.
- Excessive height: A truck exceeding the height limit could strike an overhead bridge and cause debris to fall into the path of oncoming vehicles.
- Blind spots: An oversized truck has larger blind spots. Oversize load accidents can occur when truck drivers fail to see smaller vehicles when turning or switching lanes.
When Does South Carolina Consider a Truck’s Cargo Oversized or Overweight?
As noted in the August 2021 guidelines revision, South Carolina considers a truck’s cargo overweight or oversized when:
- A containerized cargo weighs over 100,000 pounds and is greater than 8.5 feet wide and 13.5 feet high.
- A non-divisible load weighs more than 100,000 pounds and exceeds 14 feet wide and 13.5 feet high.
- A mobile home is greater than 14 feet wide and 13.5 feet high.
Other South Carolina rules and regulations also apply
In addition to the three cargo types noted above, specialized rules and regulations apply to cargo such as bulk agricultural loads and culvert pipes. The 2021 guidelines revision also notes when oversized and overweight trucks require permits to travel on South Carolina’s roads. To help reduce the number of oversize load accidents, the SCDOT regulates which roads oversize trucks may travel on.
South Carolina restricts oversized trucks from traveling after sunset
Oversized cargo loads or mobile homes with a width not exceeding 12 feet can travel on the Palmetto State’s roads seven days a week, but only between sunrise and sunset. The SCDOT also restricts the transport of larger cargo loads with widths between 12 and 15 feet on roads close to large urban areas between the following times:
- 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m.
- 3:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. on school days
- 4:30 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. on non-school days
Cargo loads exceeding 15 feet may use South Carolina roads between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. on school days and between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. on all other days.
How Can You Drive Safely Around Oversize Load Trucks?
It’s not impossible to share the road safely with large trucks and avoid oversize load accidents. When you’re behind a large truck, you’re most likely in the driver’s blind spot. Don’t get too anxious to pass. You can tell if you’re in a blind spot is to check if you can see the driver in the truck’s side mirror. If you can’t, you’re in a blind spot.
Passing safely can help avoid oversize load truck accidents. If you can see the driver in the truck’s side mirror, signal and move into the left lane. You should never pass an oversize truck from the right lane or on a downgrade. Make sure you can see the truck clearly in your rear mirror before you pull in front of it.
Don’t tailgate a large truck. Your vehicle could get pushed under the truck if you’re rear-ended. The same catastrophic scenario could result if a large truck in front of you suddenly stops and you can’t stop your vehicle in time.
Oversize Load Accidents Could Require the Services of an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney
Injuries resulting from oversized load accidents between trucks and smaller vehicles could bring about complex issues of liability and harm assessment. Call Louthian Law Firm’s Columbia truck accident lawyer so you can remain focused on your recovery. Our team will handle all the details and fight to get you the full compensation you deserve.
The Louthian Law Firm team will examine the evidence and call in accident reconstruction experts if needed. We’ll present your case to a jury if an insurance company attempts to lowball your settlement. We’re available 24/7. Call us today to schedule a no-fee consultation.