Whether or not you have ever given them a second thought, you have probably noticed that there are signs before every bridge, tunnel, parking garage, or other area with an overhang that warns you of the height. If you have only ever driven in a passenger vehicle, it is likely that you have never felt the need to consider these warnings, since the average passenger sedan is 5’ tall, and even the highest passenger trucks are nowhere near as tall as the 13’6” that many tractor-trailers are. The only time that most passenger vehicle drivers encounter a situation where they need to know the height of their vehicle is while renting a moving truck, which is why it is an unfortunately common sight to see a moving truck wedged underneath a low overpass on moving day.
When a truck hits the top of a bridge or the roof of a tunnel, this is known as a “bridge strike,” and the results of these types of accidents can be absolutely catastrophic to both the driver and everyone else on the road. Driving behind a trucker involved in a bridge strike can be exceptionally dangerous, due to the fact that you may be hurt or killed in an underride accident.
If you were involved in a bridge strike, contact 1-800-Injured for a free consultation today. They connect victims of all sorts of trucking accidents to experienced and aggressive attorneys.
What Is a Bridge Strike?
Simply put, a bridge strike is an accident that happens when a commercial truck or other large vehicle strikes the underside of a bridge or the roof of a tunnel because there is not enough clearance for them to pass through. These accidents can cause massive disruptions to traffic as emergency responders attempt to remove the vehicle from the area, and more importantly, they can be extremely dangerous for the driver and everyone else on the road.
How Common Are Bridge Strikes?
Truck drivers are held to extremely high standards when it comes to licensing and certification, for a variety of reasons. In their ongoing training, drivers are continuously reminded of the importance to pay attention to bridge and tunnel heights, as well as the height of their vehicle, in order to avoid a bridge strike and all of the damage that comes with these crashes. However, no amount of training or certification requirements can ever guarantee that a driver will never be involved in a bridge strike.
Not all states track bridge strikes as unique accidents, so it can be difficult to determine exactly how many take place each year across the United States. However, according to a survey carried out by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, at least 3,000 of them nationwide from 2008 to 2018. While this number may not seem alarming when compared to the number of traffic accidents that take place each day in the country, they are unsafe and avoidable.
Part of the problem with bridge strikes is that driving distractions have been on a sharp rise since the advent of the smartphone. When a driver is looking at their phone or other screen instead of paying attention to the road, they run the risk of missing important signs warning them to take a bypass road to avoid a bridge strike.