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Why do 18-wheelers sometimes catch fire?

On Behalf of | Feb 26, 2022 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

Recently, a catastrophic 18-wheeler accident in Colorado made both national and international headlines. In that crash, an out-of-control truck collided with stopped traffic at the bottom of a steep incline. According to reporting from CNN, the accident caused a massive fire, ultimately killing four individuals and injuring dozens of others.

While you are certainly at risk of suffering other catastrophic injuries in any tractor-trailer crash, a fire leaves you vulnerable to serious burns and smoke inhalation injuries. Fortunately, 18-wheeler fires are comparatively rare in Texas and across the country.

Brake failure

Because they use friction to do their job, truck brakes have the potential to overheat. Not only does excess heat make brakes fail, but brake temperatures may also climb high enough to start a fire. Before driving, truckers should inspect their brakes, tires and wheels to ensure they are in good condition. During trips, drivers also should watch for signs their brakes may be starting to overheat.

Flammable materials

Some tractor-trailers haul gasoline, oil or other flammable materials. While these materials should be secure in approved containers, all bets are off during an accident. That is, if an accident causes damage to a storage tank, flammable materials may ignite and burn quickly. Therefore, truckers who haul flammable materials must exercise additional caution to avoid collisions.

Engine malfunctions

When it comes to vehicle maintenance, many trucking companies have reputations for cutting corners to save money. Because a poorly maintained engine may be a fire hazard, truckers and the trucking companies that employ them must be certain their vehicles remain in good condition mechanically.

Ultimately, if you suffer a life-changing injury in a tractor-trailer fire, identifying the cause of the fire may improve your chances of receiving the financial compensation you deserve.