Truck Accidents in Snow and Ice
Poor driving conditions can put anyone on the road at high risk for accidents. During the colder months, ice and snow can make highways slippery and dangerous. Large trucks are already a risk because of their size alone, and they can pose an even more ominous threat this time of year.
Tractor trailers can weigh close to 80,000 pounds filled with cargo. By comparison, a typical automobile weighs around 3,250 pounds. This discrepancy makes a difference in stopping times. If both are traveling at 60 miles per hour, the truck needs at least 400 feet to arrive at a full stop. A car, on average, would need 140 feet. Slippery roads and poor visibility can increase the distance needed for a complete stop for any vehicle.
Causes of Truck Accidents
Truck drivers are under constant pressure to pick up and deliver goods on time. They are subject to restrictions on the amount of hours they can drive before stopping for rest, and may not be able to make up for time lost to bad weather. This is why many stay behind the wheel when road conditions are bad.
Truck drivers that are not experienced in driving through ice and snow can also create more risks. Maneuvering a tractor trailer in these conditions is different from doing so when the weather is clear. It also goes without saying that driving a large truck while under the influence in any weather condition is cause for a potential accident.
Tractor trailers are at a high risk for jackknifing. Since the truck and tractor are separate from each other, the parts can end up moving at two different speeds. The entire truck skids, and the trailer swings out to one side. The vehicle then stops, with both parts at 90-degree angles of each other. Jackknifing happens when the front wheels lock on a slippery patch of road, if the driver handles a curve at a high speed, or swerves.
Sharing Icy Roads with Trucks
Although most truckers are well-trained and experienced, driving in ice and snow can still be tricky. Listening to weather forecasts and traffic conditions before heading out and staying focused on your surroundings are vital to preventing accidents. All ice and snow should be cleared to promote good visibility. Other items to attend to include checking the truck’s wipers and fluids, and maintenance items, such as oil changes, should be taken care of before venturing on long trips.
One of the most important things to do when driving in bad weather is to slow down. Faster speeds greatly increase the risk of skids. If passing is necessary, vehicles should pass on the left, since trucks have large blind spots. Cutting in front of a large truck is dangerous, but on slippery roads, it can be especially treacherous. Giving truckers extra room is always the best course of action.
New Brunswick Truck Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Help Truck Accident Victims
If you were injured in a truck accident and need legal help, call the New Brunswick truck accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr. Call us at 732-537-8570 or complete an online form today for a free consultation. Our Highland Park, New Jersey offices serve clients in New Brunswick, Somerset, Piscataway, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, and Colonia.