A tractor-trailer owned by Southwest Freight Distribution of Dallas overturned on state highway 121 near Melissa, Texas, this weekend, causing a major snarl in traffic. Fortunately, no one was hurt in the truck accident, although it is very easy to see how they could have been. In addition, the crash caused large expenses in man hours and cleanup operations, as well as wasted time and gas for the motorists stuck in the jam after the incident.

According to police, the truck was going too fast along a very sharply curved southbound exit, and went through a guard rail as a result. This overturned the truck, spilling its cargo of scrap metal and also rupturing the fuel tank. Diesel fuel was spilled all over the road and around the exit. Again, the damage was thankfully minimized as Melissa’s volunteer fire department was able to get on scene and secure the spill.

The issue doesn’t lie so much in the specific damage done as in the underlying problem that truck drivers are operating their vehicles in an unsafe manner.

“If you’ve gone down that ramp at any point lately, (you’ll see there are) added caution bumps, additional signs and flashing lights on top of those signs,” said police Sgt Kyle Babcock. “There is literally not any more warning or signage devices that they can add currently and people will still carry too much speed into that curve and lose control and crash. It happens in inclement weather and perfect weather like now.”

Everyone either has or knows someone who has seen the reduced speed limit signs on the curve of an exit and hasn’t complied. In a smaller passenger car this is easy enough to control, although still illegal. Tractor-trailers, on the other hand, are carrying extraordinary weights of cargo, cargo that all adds mass to the outside of a turn. This time, no one was hurt, but it’s all too easy to see just how disastrous this accident could have been, and in many other places would have been.