What makes an override crash different from an underride crash?

Whether you call them big rigs, tractor-trailers or semitrucks, there is little question that commercial trucks are dangerous vehicles. Their drivers have to go through specialized education just to legally operate them, and they are also subject to stricter rules about how they behave on the roads.

Commercial trucks can cause some of the worst crashes that occur on the modern roads. Some commercial trucking incidents are just like other collisions, but there are also unique kinds of crashes that usually only occur with a big vehicle.

For example, underride and override collisions almost always involve commercial vehicles colliding with passenger vehicles. What are the differences between override and underride collisions?

Which vehicle strikes the other determines the name

The outcome of underride and override crashes will often be the same. Either scenario will likely lead to the commercial vehicle on top of the smaller passenger vehicle. However, the directional force involved dictates which term technically applies to a wreck.

When a commercial truck rear-ends a passenger vehicle and goes up and over the smaller vehicle, that is an override crash. When a passenger vehicle strikes the rear end of a truck or goes underneath the sides of the trailer, that will be an underride crash. In both underrides and overrides, the smaller vehicle will likely suffer total damage, and the occupants are at risk of life-altering or fatal injuries.

The ways to prevent these crashes are also different

There are already design features integrated into most commercial vehicles to reduce the chance of an override crash. However, despite attempts at changing the law, there are still no federal requirements for side underride guards and weak regulations for rear underride guards.

The way that the driver’s and passenger vehicles can avoid these collisions is also different. Side and rear underride collisions often occur because someone gets too close to the blind spots around a commercial truck. On the other hand, override collisions often occur because someone merged too close to the front of a commercial truck or stopped too quickly in front of one.

Learning about the different kinds of truck crashes will help you better respond if one affects your family.