Why Semi-Trucks Topple Over

by | Nov 23, 2016

Semi-truck rollovers cause hundreds of fatalities to truckers and motorists every year. Even though they represent only 3.3% of all semi-truck accidents, rollovers are responsible for nearly 50% of all fatalities suffered by truck drivers nationwide. The following are the most commonly cited reasons seen by semi-truck accident lawyers for semi-trucks toppling over.

Improper Loading & Shifting Loads

A semi-truck’s center of gravity can shift dramatically if it is improperly loaded. If heavier goods are placed on top of lighter goods the vehicle can become highly stable. As a driver navigates down the road, curves in the road, high winds, or sudden stops can cause the vehicle to become uncontrollable.

Another common factor are live loads that can move and shift. A semi-truck loaded with livestock can have a highly mobile cargo. If these animals suddenly move to one side, it can unexpectedly shift the vehicle’s center of gravity and cause it to overturn.

Sharp Turns

Whether it is a gradual turn down the slope of an on-ramp or a sharp corner on a city street, semi-trucks can become unbalanced while conducting these maneuvers. Should the driver lose focus for even an instant as they make a turn, they can lose control over the vehicle as the wheels lift off the road and the vehicle topples.

Bad Roads & Bad Design

Large potholes, soft shoulders, and lax road maintenance can make the roadway unsafe for large vehicles. As the vehicle travels over poorly maintained roads, the driver may not be able to control the vehicle as it encounters these flaws.

Additionally, improperly designed roads can create sharp corners and steep grades. When semi-trucks attempt to navigate poorly designed roads, they may be required to conduct maneuvers that exceed the vehicle’s safe handling limits.


Speeding is another leading cause of semi-truck rollover accidents. A speeding semi-truck has enormous inertia. Semi-truck accident lawyers know that even a gradual turn at a high rate of speed is enough to pull the vehicle over on its side. This problem is even greater if the vehicle is overloaded, in which case the driver will become a victim of the basic principles of physics.

Driver Overcorrection

If a semi-truck driver overcorrects a turn or lane change, the vehicle can become unstable and overturn. Indeed, driver error is a common cause of semi-truck rollover accidents across the nation. It’s a considerable problem with newer, less-experienced drivers that is exacerbated when driver fatigue and other factors are added into the equation.