It goes without saying that the winter season brings weather that makes driving difficult or even unsafe, particularly in midwestern states like Illinois. However, many motorists make the assumption that professional truck drivers and other commercial vehicle operators have the expertise and equipment to overcome winter weather conditions with practiced ease.
Even so, truck accidents can occur with greater frequency throughout the winter months. It is important for drivers to understand the risks that large trucks can pose during poor conditions and what action to take if an accident does occur.
What causes winter trucking accidents?
The Federal Highway Administration reports that nearly 76,000 people sustain injuries in vehicle crashes during snowfall or sleet. Wintry precipitation can have an especially dramatic effect on a truck driver’s ability to control or stop their large vehicles, which can already have a stopping distance of nearly 200 yards in some cases. This type of weather also often implies gusty winds that can topple many commercial vehicles’ tall, narrow trailers.
Who is liable in a winter trucking accident?
While no one can control the weather, there is often still a liable party in weather-related trucking accidents. Truck drivers, like all motorists on the road, are under the expectation to drive accordingly during inclement conditions. Blame might also lie with the trucking company for poor maintenance of the vehicle or for enforcing a schedule that leads to driver fatigue.
While many avoid hitting the road as much as possible in the winter, it can be a particularly busy season for commercial drivers. The trucks that are on the road during harsh weather conditions are just as susceptible to accidents as any other vehicle, if not more so.