As the temperatures start to drop and the days are getting shorter, weather conditions are also starting to change. Rain, sleet, fog, heavy winds and snow are common during the fall and winter months, and they can all affect road conditions and driver performance. While all motorists are urged to use extra caution when driving during inclement weather, this is particularly true for commercial truck drivers who are operating a massive 80,000-pound truck on roadways that may be slick with rain, ice or snow. Unfortunately, when poor weather conditions cause a serious truck accident, it is the occupants of the passenger vehicles that often suffer the most severe injuries and fatalities. If you were involved in a serious truck accident that was caused by poor weather conditions, you are urged to contact an experienced truck accident lawyer as soon as possible.
What Are Examples of Weather Conditions That Can Cause Truck Accidents?
Even when the road conditions are fine and the weather is ideal, truck accidents can occur if the truck driver is drowsy, distracted, or the truck has some type of mechanical failure. However, when you add slippery road conditions and reduced visibility to the mix, it can have devastating consequences, particularly if the truck driver loses control of the vehicle, and the truck is traveling at a high speed. If there are other passenger vehicles in the vicinity, the truck can cause massive property damage and catastrophic injuries and fatalities. The following are examples of the types of inclement weather that can cause horrific truck accidents:
- Heavy rain: Truck drivers must be very careful when driving in the rain. Even a light drizzle can cause the roadways to become slippery when the water and the film that is on the surface of the road causes the truck’s tires to lose traction and spin out of control. Heavy rain can cause visibility issues and increase the risk of hydroplaning. Either of these scenarios can cause devastating truck accidents if there are other vehicles in the vicinity.
- Strong winds: Heavy winds can be dangerous for any vehicle that is traveling on a busy highway. However, large commercial trucks are more susceptible to dangerous crosswinds due to their massive size. If the wind is strong enough, it can cause the truck to drift into another lane, or completely off the road. In addition to the crosswinds, heavy winds can cause snow or debris to obstruct the truck driver’s visibility, making it difficult to see other vehicles on the road.
- Snow or freezing rain: As the temperatures drop, there is an increased chance that rain can turn to freezing rain, sleet or snow. This can affect visibility and cause the roadways to become dangerously slippery. Black ice is particularly dangerous because it is not visible to drivers until it is too late to avoid it.
- Fog: While fog may not seem as treacherous as snow or freezing rain, it can cause major visibility issues. Fog can blur and block a truck driver’s vision, making driving conditions extremely dangerous.
- Lightning storms or thunderstorms: A sudden clap of thunder, or a bolt of lightning can startle a truck driver, causing him or her to hit the brakes or jerk the steering wheel. Any type of sudden movement like this can increase the risk of a collision with another vehicle.
What Types of Truck Accidents Are Caused by Inclement Weather?
Truck accidents are rarely minor fender benders. Due to the size and weight of the average commercial truck, they often cause considerable property damage and life-threatening, even fatal injuries. When road conditions are unsafe, the accident can be even more devastating. The following are examples of truck accident that can occur during inclement weather:
- Underride accidents
- Jackknife accidents
- Rear-end accidents
- Rollover accidents
- Head-on collisions
- Broadside collisions
How Can I Avoid a Truck Accident During Inclement Weather?
You should always drive with extra caution when the weather causes potentially dangerous driving conditions. This is particularly true when you are sharing the road with a massive commercial truck. While truck drivers have a responsibility to use extreme caution during inclement weather, there are proactive steps that you can take as well to avoid being involved in a catastrophic, and potentially deadly truck accident, including:
- Reduce your speed.
- Stay out of the truck’s blind spots.
- Leave extra following distance between your vehicle and the truck.
- Avoid driving if the road conditions are unsafe.
- Do not use cruise control when roads are wet or slick.
How Do I Prove that a Truck Driver Was Negligent in a Weather-Related Accident?
It is a common misconception that you will have a difficult time obtaining financial compensation if you were injured in a truck accident that was caused by inclement weather because suing Mother Nature is not an option. However, all commercial truck drivers have a duty of care to drive safely and to take the necessary safety precautions, particularly when driving in extreme weather. If a truck driver fails to operate the truck with the proper care, particularly during severe weather conditions, he or she may be held liable for your injuries. An experienced truck accident lawyer will conduct a thorough investigation of the accident and ensure that the negligent party is held liable for your injuries. The following are examples of negligent truck driver behavior that is particularly dangerous when the road conditions are poor:
- Drowsy driving
- Distracted driving
- Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Failure to check blind spots
- Aggressive driving
- Improperly loaded cargo
- Failure to properly maintain the vehicle
According to the Surface Transportation Assistance Act (STAA), truck companies may not terminate or take disciplinary action against a truck driver for refusing to drive in unsafe weather conditions. If the truck company does not allow the driver to stop driving, despite the unsafe driving conditions, there is an increased risk of a serious truck accident. In addition, if the truck driver causes an accident after being told by the truck company that he or she must continue driving, and the accident caused you to suffer severe injuries, you may be able to hold the truck company liable for your injuries.
Springfield Truck Accident Lawyers at Kicklighter Law Seek Justice for Victims of Weather-Related Truck Accidents
If you suffered a serious truck accident injury that was caused by inclement weather conditions, you are urged to contact the Springfield truck accident lawyers at Kicklighter Law at your earliest convenience. We will assist you with every step of the claims process, determine who is liable for your injuries and ensure that you receive the maximum financial compensation you deserve. We will not stop fighting for you until you are completely satisfied. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 912-754-6003 or contact us online. From our law office in Springfield, Georgia, we serve clients in Springfield, Effingham County, Savannah, and surrounding areas.