Pickup Truck and Trailer Accidents in Spokane

December 27, 2019

A pickup truck towing a trailer such as a camper or maybe a boat is a common scene on the freeway, but sometimes these trailers are involved in serious accidents. Hauling a trailer isn’t as easy as it seems, and unlike their larger commercial counterparts, there is no special license needed to haul a trailer hitched to a small pickup truck. Because of this, accidents happen and people get injured.

One Killed in Pickup Trailer Accident on I-90

On Friday, December 27, 2019, the driver of a pickup hauling a trailer lost control of the vehicle and ended up dying in the crash. Police say that the man was driving a 1999 Ford F250 and hauling a trailer eastbound on I-90 near the Salnave Road exit when he lost control and hit the guard rail.

The pickup truck ran down a hill and onto the shoulder of the westbound lanes and the trailer came off and came to rest in the eastbound lanes of the freeway. The driver of the pickup died from the impact, and police say that speed was a factor in the accident.

Causes of Pickup Truck and Trailer Accidents

Since only a driver’s license is required to haul a trailer on the back of a pickup truck, those behind the wheel often have no training or experience when entering the freeways and highways. There are some common mistakes made by these drivers that can cause accidents, injuries and even fatalities.

Vehicle-Trailer Weight Mismatch Problem

When the driver of the pickup truck attempts to haul a trailer that is too big or too heavy for the truck he or she is driving, this can lead to accidents. A sudden gust of wind or movement from the pickup truck can set in motion a fishtail or sway effect that can end up with the whole rig running off the road or flipping over.

An experienced trailer hauler will know to add weight to the back of the pickup to even out the weight difference. Also, speed is a factor in these crashes. A mismatch can be manageable at lower speeds, but once the speed is too high, then the problem can begin.

Shifting/Unsecured Cargo

Cargo in the back of the pickup and the trailer must be evenly distributed and secured. When this isn’t done, a sudden shift in the cargo can initiate and uncontrolled sway or fishtail or simply cause the driver to lose control of the rig.

The weight of the trailer should be less than that of the pickup, and its cargo needs to be secured to avoid the risk of these crashes.

Improper Trailer Hitch

There are requirements for how a trailer should be secured to the truck. The trailer’s hitch should be properly locked on the ball without too much clearance between the ball and the hitch cup or opening. Also, Washington law requires that a safety chain or a drawbar be used in the hitch system. This is to keep the trailer from running free if the hitch fails.


Just like the big rigs, smaller truck and trailer combos can jackknife and cause a serious crash. A jackknife happens when the trailer pushes the truck into a position where the truck in a “V” formation in relation to the trailer. In smaller rigs, this can cause the trailer to come off or the pickup to flip or rollover.

It’s caused by poor road conditions, improper braking,  improper handling or equipment failure. Experienced drivers know how to mitigate jackknife risks, and for those hauling larger trailers, anti-jackknife equipment can be installed.

Safety First

The best way to defend against pickup and trailer accidents is to get training before you attempt your first haul, go slow and gain experience using smaller trucks and trailers first. Also, secure your load, watch weight mismatch and always use caution when driving. Don’t assume that just because things are going ok, that everything will be fine.

Contact a Spokane Car Accident Lawyer.

Established in Spokane in 1948, Crary, Clark, Domanico, & Chuang, P.S. is committed to providing our clients with the absolute highest quality legal representation. If our Spokane Car Accident Lawyers represent you for your accident case, you have our assurance that we will use our absolute best efforts to win your case. Contact us after any accident resulting in a serious injury for a free, confidential consultation and case evaluation. We will only offer you advice which is in your best interest.

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