tanker truck accident

Things You Should Know About Tanker Truck Accidents

Tanker truck accidents happen on a daily basis. Unlike your standard truck accident, tanker trucks transport a wide range of goods. Tankers carry everything from consumables to explosive substances and these are the things you should know about tanker truck accidents.

Tanker truck accidents can cause a huge amount of property damage, extensive injuries, and even fatal wounds. If you or someone close to you suffered due to a tanker truck crash, it’s important to hold the right person or entity accountable for your losses.

For this, you also need an experienced tanker truck accident attorney to be by your side.

In this article, we’ll go over everything you need to know if you have been involved in an oil, water, or gas truck collision.

What is a Tanker Truck?

Tanker trucks are vehicles responsible for transporting a wide variety of liquid substances.

These vehicles can haul dry goods and liquid gasses, but the majority of tankers haul food-grade liquids or chemicals. Making oneself aware of the things to know about tanker truck accidents can help one to know what to do if one finds themselves in such a situation on the road.

Tanker truck on the road

What to do if you have been involved in an accident with a tanker truck

There are more than 160,000 tanker truck accidents every single year, costing millions in damages and even leading to loss of life. If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in a collision with this type of vehicle, it’s essential to seek the right type of help both medically and legally. 

Here’s what you should do. 

Seek Medical Attention

In the immediate aftermath of a tanker crash, your first action should be to dial 911 and seek medical attention. You may still be in shock, so even if you feel fine, it’s important to follow the advice of the operator and wait for the authorities and medical specialists to arrive at the scene. 

Police Report

Once the authorities arrive, give your full statement and be as thorough as possible. Try to remember everything as vividly as possible and be as helpful as possible. 

Collection of Evidence

If you get the chance, remember to collect as much evidence as possible. There are many things that can cause a tanker hauler accident including weather conditions, faulty parts, and many other factors. So, take pictures of the road, the vehicles involved, the damages, and any other relevant detail. 

Gather All Information

Next, collect information from the driver including the name and driver’s license number. It’s also a good idea to jot down or take a picture of the truck’s license plate if possible. 

You’ll receive a copy of the tanker truck accident police report, but having access to these details immediately will allow your attorney to start building a case immediately. 

Get in Touch with Your Insurance

If you have insurance, this is also a good time to contact your providers and pass on all the details you just collected.

Keep in mind that your insurer may also have instructions that help your claim later on. So, pay close attention as they may also ask you to collect a few additional pieces of information. 

Contact Coluccio Law

Finally, reach out to a tanker accident attorney that can handle the case. At Coluccio Law, we thoroughly analyze each case and handle every interaction with insurance providers and other third parties to help give you space to heal and recover. 

Get in touch with our attorneys today and tell us about your case.

Types of Cargo in Tanker Trucks

Many tanker trucks are used to transport gasoline and diesel to gas stations, but there are also tanker trucks that haul a wide variety of materials such as the following:

  • Tanker Truck Food Cargo
  • Grain and flour
  • Milk and other liquid dairy products
  • Wine, beer, and other spirits
  • Food grade oils
  • Animal fat
  • Corn syrup
  • Fruit juices
  • Chocolate
  • Sugar alcohols
  • Tanker Truck Non-food Cargo
  • Gasoline and other petroleum derivatives
  • Ethanol
  • Oil and tar
  • Sand
  • Acids and other corrosives
  • Dyes and paints
  • Pesticides and herbicides
  • Radioactive compounds such as ores and isotopes
  • Peroxides and other oxidizing substances

Elements of Tanker Truck Accidents


A truck might be carrying flammable materials, but food-grade trucks that are pressurized with oxygen can also burst into flame during a tanker truck crash.


A high-impact tank truck crash can easily throw a spark that can ignite highly flammable and combustible substances, meaning that explosions might also occur during a tanker truck accident.

Leaks and spills

Hazardous materials can put other motorists at risk when toxic fumes leak into the air. Non-hazardous spillage can cause a mess that leads to surrounding vehicles trying to avoid the spill, which can result in a multiple-vehicle pileup.

Sloshing movement

Tankers who are not carrying a full load risk being in an accident caused by sloshing, which is the movement of the liquid within the tank. Sloshing often occurs when drivers go around corners too quickly, suddenly stop, or make any other quick movement.

When the load shifts, the center of gravity within the truck also shifts, making it more difficult for a driver to control, which can lead to a dangerous tanker truck accident.

Helpful Reading: Log Truck Accidents

Causes of Tanker Truck Accidents

Many truck accidents, including tanker crashes, are caused by negligent driver behavior and negligent trucking company behavior.

Causes of tanker truck accidents include:

Distracted driving

The many distractions that can cause a tanker accident today include the following:

  • Eating and drinking
  • Personal grooming
  • Adjusting climate controls
  • Adjusting radios
  • Daydreaming
  • Use of a cellular telephone

Driving under the influence

With the already established high risks associated with tanker trucks, the danger factor increases greatly with the addition of any substance abuse. Impaired drivers can easily swerve or fail to properly judge time and distance, which can cause a severe tanker trucker accident.

Driving when tired

Truck drivers, including tanker truck drivers, have demanding schedules and some truck drivers must drive overnight, which can lead to drowsiness and full-blown fatigue. Fatigued drivers can easily fall asleep at the wheel and cause severe accidents.

Poor Maintenance

Each truck must have regular safety inspections, and preventative maintenance, and cannot go on the road if they have broken parts. A mechanical failure can cause a driver to lose control of the tanker and faulty parts on the tank can cause dangerous spillage, especially when the truck contents consist of hazardous chemicals.

Little Experience

Not only are oil rigs massive vehicles, but they are also very heavy. Even after extensive training, new drivers can find it difficult to drive these trucks and sometimes lose control, accidentally causing harm to others.

High Speed

Driving at high speeds is another common reason an oil truck accident can take place. However, solving it is a lot more complex as drivers usually drive at high speeds to meet their delivery quotas and avoid delays that compromise the entire logistics system.

Excessive Weight Loads

While there are laws and regulations that control the amount of weight rigs can carry, many corporations operate on the limit. This can prove to be too much weight even for experienced drivers and elevate the chances of an accident.

Common Tanker Truck Accident Injuries

Those involved in tanker truck accidents may experience one of the following injuries:

  • Head injuries and traumatic brain injuries.
  • Severe whiplash and soft tissue injuries.
  • Deep lacerations.
  • Back injuries.
  • Crushed bones and multiple fractures.
  • Internal bleeding and organ damage.
  • Spinal cord injuries.
  • Amputations.
  • Severe burns.
  • Smoke inhalation.
  • Chemical burns.
  • Radiation exposure.

Safety Tips

It may not be possible to prevent all accidents, but following safety precautions at all times can help reduce the number of accidents and minimize the amount of damage caused by them.

Here are a few tips you should keep in mind to help prevent tanker truck accidents. 

For Drivers

If you are driving on the same road as an oil rig, you should avoid getting too close as this will give you more time to react in case anything goes wrong. 

Also, take note of the weather conditions and adjust to them. If you have inclement weather, notice that the road is slippery, or see another potential source of danger, reduce your speed or change roads altogether. 

For Pedestrians and Other Road Users

Pedestrians who suffer due to a rig crash usually experience severe injuries. If this is your case, contact a tanker truck accident attorney right away to get the help you need.

As for safety precautions, pedestrians should try to avoid walking in zones with tanker trucks and rigs as these usually have a lot of blind spots. 

Not only this, truckers tend to follow a code in terms of where to walk when moving between rigs and across trucker stops. Not understanding or respecting this can put everyone at risk.

To Wrap Up

Being involved in a tanker accident can potentially mean suffering both injuries and property damage. This is undoubtedly a difficult period, so it’s important to get the support, space, and compensation you need while making your recovery. 

At Coluccio Law, our legal experts can provide you with the legal advice you need and handle all accident-related matters. Get in touch with us today to discuss your case and our team will start working right away 

Recommended Article: Big Rig Accident on I-5 today

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) – Tanker Truck Accident

Can Tanker Trucks Explode?

Explosions can occur if the cargo within the tanker truck reacts with heat or elements in the air.

Are Tanker Trucks Safe?

Tanker trucks pose many risks to others on the road, because of their often dangerous cargo. Many states take steps to ensure that tanker trucks are monitored and that drivers are properly qualified to haul the tanker’s contents. All trucks must be inspected before getting on the road and regular maintenance must be applied.

Which Trucking Company has the Highest Amount of Accidents?

FedEx Ground recorded 80 fatal truck accidents between April 2020 and April 2022, making them the trucking company with the highest percentage of accidents.

Recommended Article: Truck Accident Settlements and Verdicts

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