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Truck Accident Glossary
Virginia, Washington, DC and Maryland Truck Accident Lawyer
Blind spot: Areas not visible to the driver through the windshield, side windows or side mirrors.
Bobtail: A tractor that is operating without a trailer attached.
CDL (Commercial Driver's License): License authorizing someone to operate commercial motor vehicles or buses over 26,000 pounds. Freight-hauling truck operators without a CDL may operate motor vehicles or buses with a maximum size of 26,000 pounds (Class 6 CDL)
Dead-Heading: A truck operating without cargo.
Grade: Steepness of the road grade expressed as a percentage. A vehicle climbing a road with eight percent grade rises eight feet for every 100 feet traveled.
Hazmat: Hazardous materials. The U.S. Department of Transportation strictly enforces the transport of hazardous materials.
Headache Rack: The protective barrier mounted behind the cab of the tractor. It is designed to prevent the cab being crushed by loads shifting forward causing "headaches."
Jackknifing: When the cab and trailer stop at a right (90 degree) angle. This is one of the most common causes of truck accidents.
Lowboy: An open flat-bed trailer, low to the ground, used to haul construction equipment or heavy loads.
Overload: A commercial motor vehicle whose cargo is overloaded or overweight, which can cause brake failure or the inability to steer. Weight stations along the roads are meant to check for overloaded cargo.
Override: An accident in which the truck runs over a smaller vehicle in front of it.
Payload: Cargo being hauled measured in weight.
Peddle Run: Route of a truck that has frequent delivery stops.
Piggyback: Reinforcements built onto a semitrailer for transport by a railroad flatcar.
Relay (Relay Driving): The common practice in which one individual drives a truck for eight to ten hours and then turns the truck over to another driver to finish long-haul transports.
Rollover: Trucks may rollover due to a height and weight imbalance. Caused by turning a corner too quickly, overcorrection, and jackknifing.
Runaway Truck Ramp: An emergency area adjacent to a steep downgrade heavy truck can steer into after losing their brakes. They are usually filled with gravel, several hundred feet in length, and a couple of lanes wide to absorb the momentum of the truck and bring it safely to a stop. They run both up- and downhill, depending on the terrain.
Semitrailer: A truck trailer whose rear is supported by its wheels and toward the front by another fifth wheel mounted to a dolly or a tractor.
Tractor: A truck which is designed to pull a semitrailer by means of a fifth wheel mounted over the rear axle or axles.
Tractor Trailer: The combination of a tractor and semitrailer.
Truck: Vehicle with a mounted body connected to the chassis able to carry cargo, rather than cargo carried by a towed trailer.
Underrides: An accident in which a smaller passenger vehicle goes beneath the trailer of the truck. Underride accidents are usually caused by vehicles traveling too close a truck that stops suddenly in front of it or when a trailer stretches across a roadway and the smaller vehicle cannot see it (happens when daylight or weather conditions obscure the trailer).
If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident in Virginia, Washington, DC, or Maryland, please contact the experienced truck accident attorneys at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata, and Siegel, P.C.