What Causes Truck Rollover Accidents?

Posted On April 5, 2024 / By Manning Law / Truck Accidents

Truck rollover accidents are known as some of the most serious types of motor vehicle collisions in Colorado. When a large commercial truck tips onto its side or rolls over completely, it can crush smaller vehicles, cause a multi-vehicle accident or leak dangerous materials into the road. Oftentimes, the most common causes of truck rollover accidents are entirely preventable.

Overloaded Truck or Imbalanced Load 

The average big rig weighs about 20 to 30 times more than a passenger car. With a maximum truck height of 14 feet, these tall and heavy vehicles have high centers of gravity. This makes them less stable than smaller vehicles and more prone to rollover accidents. If an 18-wheeler is not properly loaded with cargo, this can increase the risk of a rollover.

The distribution of a truck’s cargo load impacts the vehicle’s center of gravity. If a truck’s load is imbalanced or the truck is overloaded and too heavy, it can become unsteady and topple over. Unsecured cargo could also shift in transit and the truck could become imbalanced. Improperly loaded cargo can affect vehicle stability to the point of causing it to tip or roll.


A truck rollover accident can occur when the front wheels of an 18-wheeler turn more quickly than the back wheels, which are weighed down by the cargo area of the truck. This can happen if the truck driver exceeds a safe and reasonable speed for the conditions, including the type of truck and cargo.

Speeding around a curve is especially dangerous in a tractor-trailer. Misjudging the sharpness of a turn could lead to the truck driver taking it too fast, causing the truck to lift onto two wheels, lose control or roll over. Truck drivers can prevent these accidents by slowing down and braking earlier around curves. 

Improper Truck Handling

Speeding is not the only truck driver error that can cause a rollover accident. Many examples of driver negligence, which refers to the failure to drive safely and prudently, can increase the odds of a disastrous truck rollover. 

Examples include:

  • Improper braking techniques
  • Oversteering or understeering
  • Overcorrecting or jerking the wheel
  • Dangerous truck maneuvering
  • Losing control of the truck
  • Following other vehicles too closely
  • Causing the truck to jackknife
  • Downshifting problems
  • Distracted driving or failing to pay attention to the road

Large trucks handle much differently than typical passenger vehicles. This is why truck drivers require special driver’s licenses and additional training to operate big rigs. If a truck driver is negligent behind the wheel of a semi-truck, it can result in a preventable rollover accident. 

Poor Truck Maintenance 

Negligent truck maintenance could lead to part malfunctions and failures that contribute to a truck rollover. For example, worn-down tires that are not replaced could blow out or explode, making an 18-wheeler lose control and potentially roll over. Bad brakes could also contribute to a rollover accident by failing to reduce the speed of the truck around corners or downhill.

If you have been injured in a truck rollover accident in Colorado, the Denver truck accident attorneys at Manning Law can help you explore your legal rights. You may be eligible to recover financial compensation for your accident from the truck driver or trucking company. Call (720) 515-3191 today to schedule a free case review.