The weather was absolutely beautiful when you came into work today. Now that you’re on your way home however, it is a downpour. Although you hate driving on the beltway during rush hour, you really hate driving on the beltway when it’s raining. You’ve recently noticed that people just don’t think about their own safety anymore—let alone your safety.
For example, you’re stuck between two semi-trucks and a third truck is attempting to pass all three of you. He manages to get slightly ahead of the lead truck and then moves over without warning. The truck ahead of you is forced to slam on his brakes, and since you were about four feet from his bumper, you also had to slam on your brakes, as did the truck behind you.
Thankfully, you were able to just barely avoid a collision, but when dealing with reckless drivers—especially truckers during bad weather—what can you do to stay safe?
Avoiding a Weather-Related Truck Accident
Nearly 15,000 people a year suffer from injuries due to truckers losing control of their rigs in poor weather. The Federal Highway Administration estimates decreased visibility and wet or slippery pavement account for almost 74 percent of all weather-related accidents. In addition, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that weather-related truck accidents account for 20 percent of all traffic fatalities.
Luckily, you can decrease these odds by following these simple truck safety guidelines:
- Check the weather. Before you decide to go on a long trip, take the expressway, or risk driving, check the weather report. If there is the potential for severe thunderstorms, flooding, blizzards, or high winds, think about delaying your drive or taking an alternate—less congested—route.
- Drive slowly. When driving near a semi-truck, don’t attempt to speed in order to pass it. Poor weather can make it difficult for truckers to see and the driver may not notice you passing.
- Keep your distance. A truck’s stopping distance is already more than a normal car’s stopping distance; however, in slick conditions, this distance may double or even triple. Make sure you leave enough room between you and the truck—in front and behind—to accommodate for the extra slide.
- Be wary of spray. When roads are covered in rain, snow, or slush, passing trucks can cause roadway moisture to spray onto your windshield, limiting your visibility. Make sure you’re aware of the risk and prepared for potential splashes.
- Pay attention. When driving near a semi-truck, you should always pay attention to any signs that the trucker may have lost control of the rig. Swerving, unwarranted braking, and curving of the trailer could mean that the truck is hydroplaning or skidding.
Protecting Your Family After an Accident
Although wet and slippery roads increase the chances of a collision, a slick road surface is no excuse for a crash. A careful truck driver should safely accommodate for poor weather conditions and not ignore potential hazards. However, considering how truckers are increasingly overworked and given short deadlines, weather safety could be placed low on their priority lists.
If a truck driver fails to follow safety precautions, or is unreasonably negligent in operating his truck during poor weather, he may be liable for a resulting collision. Don’t allow the driver to use weather as an excuse to get out of his responsibilities to you and your family.
Make sure your family and friends are aware of the dangerous driving consequences of poor weather. Use your social media to share this page on Facebook, Twitter, or Google Plus. Remember, others may not know their risks, or how to protect themselves until it’s too late. By clicking the above media icons, you can help prevent a tragic accident.