It may seem like common sense, but semi-truck accidents are far more common when truckers are driving in adverse weather conditions. These truckers are sometimes longtime veterans of the road, having come across virtually every scenario possible. But no amount of experience is enough if a trucker isn’t driving responsibly in wet or less-than-ideal road conditions.
Semi trucks and trailers can weigh up to 80,000 pounds when loaded. As a result, any accident involving a semi-truck can result in catastrophic results. They pose serious risks to the public.
A lack of experience behind the wheel of a semi-truck or a general disregard for safe driving practices can lead to devastating consequences for a trucker and other drivers on the road. Poor weather is one of the leading causes of semi-truck accidents, and occupants of passenger vehicles are oftentimes the ones who pay the price.
What If A Semi Truck Causes An Accident During A Rain Or Snow Storm?
The Code of Federal Regulations specifically addresses adverse weather conditions during travel and requires commercial drivers to exercise “extreme caution” when conditions “affect visibility or traction.” 49 C.F.R. § 392.14.
Weather conditions can impact visibility and/or traction. Snow and ice causes roads to become slick and slippery. Fog reduces visibility and sight distance. A blizzard can impact visibility. Rain threatens both visibiliity and traction.
Is A Semi Truck Crash During A Snow Storm An 'Act Of God'?
Is the semi truck driver responsible? Will commercial vehicle insurance pay for my injuries? Under 392.14, when commercial truck drivers experience extreme weather conditions, they must respond appropriately by either reducing speed or stopping altogether, depending on the conditions.
“Extreme caution in the operation of a commercial motor vehicle shall be exercised when hazardous conditions, such as those caused by snow, ice, sleet, fog, mist, rain, dust, or smoke, adversely affect visibility or traction.”
If a truck driver fails to respond appropriately and causes an accident they, and their employer, may be held accountable for any property damage, medical bills, lost wages, injuries, and other damages.
Rain Can Be Serious
Rain makes for dangerous driving conditions by reducing visibility and creating slick roads. As stated above, not every trucker has the experience and is ready to drive safely if there’s a downpour.
One of the biggest safety risks while driving in the rain is hydroplaning, when a truck’s tires rise on a film of water. This small amount of water can pose deadly. As little as 1/12 inch of water forces a truck’s tires to displace a gallon of water per second to maintain contact with the road. Trucks should reduce their speed to correspond with how wet the road is.
Snowy Weather Requires Expert Techniques
As with passenger vehicles, trucks driving in the snow are at risk. Driving during a snow fall means reduced visibility, wet pavement and decreased traction. There's also a likelihood that other drivers are making mistakes. Even a light snow can make the road slick, causing road conditions like rain. A heavy snowfall or winter storm is very dangerous, though, as snow can pile up on the road. Snow drifts can block parts of the road and obscure lines and road signs.
Watch Out For Ice
Ice is one of the trickiest weather conditions any driver will face. Truckers cannot always see ice, so they must be aware of the weather conditions that cause ice and act accordingly. If there is moisture in the air or it recently rained, and the temperature falls below 32 degrees, there could be icy road conditions.
Black ice – ice that is translucent and shows the dark pavement below – often gives the road a wet look. Don’t assume it’s wet if the temperatures are around freezing. That wet spot is likely ice.
Fog Can Be Dangerous
While less common than rain, snow or ice, when fog strikes it can be a major hazard to truckers. While truckers are usually at an advantage due to their height on the road, fog negates that. They may not even be able to see the front of their hood.
When truckers can’t see, they should use extreme caution. The consequences could be severe or deadly, including rear-ending another vehicle or veering into another lane and hitting a vehicle. And reminder: truckers should use low beam lights or fog lights, not high beams in foggy conditions. Hazard lights are another option.
If You’ve Been In A Semi-Truck Accident…
If you’ve been injured in a semi-truck accident – caused by weather or a trucker’s negligence – you should contact the experienced legal team at Davis Law Group, P.S., to get started on your claim. Attorney Chris Davis has over 20 years of experience fighting against trucking companies and understands how serious these accidents can be.
Davis Law Group will help you file your claim and get you the most compensation available. Mr. Davis knows the ins-and-outs of truck accident cases, and is ready to fight for you in court if necessary. Get your life back on track and hire the right personal injury attorney.
If you would like to learn more about your legal rights or request a consultation with an attorney, call Davis Law Group at (206) 727-4000 today, use the chat feature below or fill out the contact form on this page.