When winter arrives, trucking accidents become a significant concern for many drivers. To avoid these accidents, it is essential to be aware of some common mistakes that lead to them. Knowing what can happen and how you can prevent it from happening will keep you safer on the road this season.
Be Aware of Winter Conditions that Affect the Roads
Winter driving presents several challenges for drivers. The most obvious obstacle is the weather itself – snowstorms, ice storms, sleet, fog, and more all make travel difficult at best and dangerous at worst for anyone on the roads during this time of year. But other obstacles may not be as visible or apparent – things like fatigue from long hours behind the wheel during snowy conditions or reduced visibility due to precipitation in your windshield wipers.
Planning Routes Around the Weather
Truckers who plan to run routes during the winter should pay close attention to weather reports and plan to adjust their routes as necessary to stay safer. They should remain in close contact with their dispatch while following all of their company’s rules and protocols for operating a commercial vehicle in wintery conditions.
Those who do not drive trucks should also pay attention to the weather and adjust their routes as necessary. If they are out on the roads and they see a commercial truck, they should give that vehicle even more space than they already do. Normal driving conditions will not apply during wintery weather. A non-truck driver in a regular passenger vehicle should continuously operate under the assumption that the semi-truck in their view may lose or be unable to regain control over their rig during severe weather. The truck should be avoided if at all possible.
Getting Back Out on the Road Too Early is a Mistake
After a major storm, many drivers head back out to the roads before they’ve been adequately cleared, resulting in impassable roads and accidents. This not only puts more people on the streets when it’s still dangerous, but also means that road crews get behind clearing your path – meaning that their work is not done by the time you get out there.
Get Your Vehicle Ready for Winter Driving
If you’re driving during the winter, your vehicle should be in good shape to handle all the challenges that winter weather can bring. Tires should be correctly inflated and still have the tread they need, wiper blades should be replaced, if necessary (particularly after a major storm), and the vehicle should be adequately lubed. It should be prepared to deal with slippery road conditions. When you’re getting your car prepared for winter driving, make sure that you also check all of its safety features, including anti-lock brakes (ABS), traction control (TCS or similar), electronic stability control (ESC), and the airbags inside of your car.
Truck Drivers Should Follow Safety Instructions
All commercial truck drivers are required to comply with the safety instructions provided by both the Department of Transportation and their employers. If the accident occurs during winter weather, and it can be proven with the help of a truck accident attorney, then the truck driver and the truck driving company might be held responsible. All truck drivers should log their compliance with the required safety protocols as an added layer of protection.
With a few simple preventative steps, many winter trucking accidents can be avoided. All drivers should be aware of the road conditions, allow for ample time to travel, or avoid traveling during inclement weather whenever possible. Truck drivers need to be extra vigilant during winter weather, and non-truck drivers should always provide as much space and time as possible for the truck to maneuver during these times.