It’s no secret that severe weather causes truck accidents, just like it causes other types of vehicular collisions. You’ve no doubt tried to navigate a torrential thunderstorm in your car, and you know how difficult it can be. Try to picture yourself doing the same thing while behind the wheel of a huge commercial semi-truck. No matter how much experience a truck driver has, they can easily slip up, resulting in a devastating wreck. That’s even more of a danger if the driver doesn’t have experience.
Call Penn Kestner & McEwen at (800) 732-3070 to speak with one of our truck accident lawyers if you’ve been involved in this kind of accident. If you would rather communicate with us online, you have that option as well. We’ll listen to the details of your accident and let you know how we may be able to help you obtain the compensation you have coming.
Winter Weather Truck Accident Statistics
Severe weather causes truck accidents any time of year, but the risks are even higher during the winter. It’s very surprising to realize this, but the vast majority of the U.S. is made up of areas that get an average of five inches of snow on a yearly basis. That obviously means the vast majority of U.S. roads are also in these areas.
What’s not surprising, then, is the fact that a quarter of all car and truck accidents caused by weather occur on road surfaces that are slick due to snow and ice. These account for more than 1,300 fatalities on a yearly basis, as all as nearly 120,000 injuries.
Poor Weather Conditions Affect Even the Best Drivers
Unless you’re a truck driver yourself, it’s hard to fathom the challenges these professionals face on a weekly basis. Long-haul drivers travel thousands of miles going across the country. They run into a lot of different kinds of bad weather. These are just a few examples.
- Fog – When fog is extremely thick, it can be impossible to see more than five feet in front of you.
- Rain – Heavy rain also dramatically decreases visibility and also poses the risk of hydroplaning on a slick road surface.
- Strong winds – Commercial trucks, of course, sit much higher off of the ground than passenger cars. That means they’re prone to rolling over in fierce winds.
- Snowstorms – Snow might look beautiful, but it can pose a major road hazard when there’s too much of it falling at one time. A heavy snowstorm can be as dangerous as a torrential thunderstorm when it comes to visibility.
- Ice – There’s no more dangerous type of weather for driving than an ice storm, which can make it impossible to get traction. Even worse is black ice, which can be left over after a storm has long passed and catch drivers by surprise.
Other Winter Road Hazards
There are other dangers unique to wintertime that really don’t have anything to do with the weather. Even when the roads are dry and clear, there are a lot more trucks out than at any other time of the year. Stores are demanding extra products for their shelves during the holiday shopping season. That means that not only truck drivers but also trucking companies are under even more pressure.
There are some companies that will cut corners. As a result, neglecting critically important inspections. After all, those take time, right? Well, when trucking companies put profits over safety, and an accident results from that greed, they can be made to pay the price for any injuries that happen.
But there are many more passenger cars on the road this time of year as well. People are traveling to see family, and shoppers are trying to find presents for their loved ones. When you combine the increased number of vehicles on the road with the higher likelihood of bad weather, it doesn’t take much imagination to see just how volatile a mix that can be.
Truck Regulations that Mention Bad Weather
Of course, there are lots of rules set by the federal government that addresses the fact that severe weather causes truck accidents. Their rules specifically state that truck drivers have to be even more careful during bad weather.
Who’s Liable for Winter Weather Truck Accidents?
While there are plenty of reasons why you’ll need to speak with an attorney as fast as you can if you’ve been hurt in an accident involving a truck, one reason stands out above all the rest. If you’re going to have the best opportunity to obtain maximum compensation, an investigation into the accident must be launched as quickly as possible.
The purpose of this investigation will be to establish liability – basically, to determine who’s to blame and who will be responsible for paying for your accident-related expenses.
A truck accident lawsuit is one of the most complex types of legal action because there will often be more than one liable party. The driver could have violated regulations by speeding in hazardous weather conditions. However, the trucking company could also be liable for failing to change a worn-out tire that failed, contributing to the accident. The cargo in the trailer could have suddenly shifted due to negligent loading, causing the driver to lose control.
You can’t just hire any truck accident attorney to handle your case. You need someone who knows how to handle all of the complexities, such as an attorney with Penn Kestner & McEwen.
Tips for Sharing the Road with Trucks in the Winter
It’s always dicey to be on the same stretch of highway with a commercial truck – it can be even more frightening during winter. Remember to give them plenty of space – even more than you normally would, if possible. If you have to pass, only do so when you are completely sure it will be safe to do so.