Sometimes a mechanical malfunction will give little or no warning. In this case a tanker-trailer was headed north on the inside lane of a four lane divided highway in an industrial part of town. Traveling in the opposite direction, a mid- sized car was headed toward the truck when, just before passing the truck, the car shook and swerved into the left front of the tanker trailer. After impact the truck veered to the right and turned over in an adjacent ditch.
After inspection of the car's suspension, it was determined that the ball joint retaining nut was missing and the lower ball joint had separated. The nut had apparently come loose after front end suspension work. Tire marks at the scene, revealed the ball joint separated prior to the collision. This caused the left front wheel to move uncontrollably. The car swerved left into the tanker-trailer. Regular vehicle maintenance and inspection can help prevent such an unexpected and severe collision. Neither driver was cited in this collision. The contributing factor listed on the police report was "Defective Steering Mechanism"
Suspension and drivetrain failures can usually be prevented by regular inspection and lubrication. Most suspension problems produce noise, so keep on top of those squeeks and rattles.