How Freezing Temperatures and Inclement Weather Result in More Accidents
Winter weather affects every state, but in some areas, it makes driving nearly impossible. For truckers, it simply is not an option to stay home until conditions improve. Truck drivers are often under tight delivery windows requiring them to keep grueling schedules despite adverse weather.
At Coletrane & Messersmith, we provide aggressive representation for individuals injured or killed in trucking accidents throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia. We are committed to providing our clients with the high-quality legal representation they deserve, always fighting to get the most extensive recovery possible.
If you have been injured in a trucking accident, contact our office for a free consultation at (757) 223-4455.
1. Lack of Visibility
One of the biggest struggles for truck drivers during the winter months is a lack of visibility caused by rain, sleet, and snow. Whiteout conditions can cause near-zero visibility for truck drivers traveling across the country.
During the winter, trucking accidents can result in:
- Multi-car pile-ups
- Fatal car accidents
- Collisions with severe injuries
Winter storms can be huge in size, spanning across several states. Even for an experienced truck operator, this can mean hours of white-knuckle driving. Low visibility is responsible for thousands of accidents each year.
Winter Weather Accidents in Virginia
Last January, one Virginia storm resulted in hundreds of traffic accidents. As reported by WTVR, Virginia State Police responded to over 350 crashes statewide during the winter weather event.
Each year, the Virginia Department of Transportation reminds people to avoid travel during inclement weather. Studies show that approximately 70% of all snow-related deaths occur in automobiles. Unfortunately for truck drivers, winter travel is often unavoidable.
2. Difficult Schedules
During the holiday season, there is even more pressure for trucking companies to get goods where they need to go. Truck drivers are given even more rigid schedules during these months in order to meet ever-shortening delivery deadlines.
Increased demand on trucking companies during the holidays means a greater potential for:
- Driver fatigue
- Temporary truck drivers with less experience
- Traveling too fast for road conditions
- Reckless driving
Winter weather by itself significantly increases the chances of a trucking accident, but add to that the unsustainable pressure to deliver goods same-day or next-day, and the results can be catastrophic.
3. Mechanical Failures
Freezing temperatures and wet weather can affect a vehicle’s performance. When it comes to a large truck, it is essential that all parts be performing at the highest level possible during travel. A mechanical failure in a tractor-trailer can be hazardous, resulting in severe injury or death.
Mechanical failures that are common during winter months:
- 0Stalled engine
- Clogged fuel lines
- Frozen diesel filters
- Battery failure
- Corroded parts
- Low tire pressure
- Frozen wiper blades
Prior to the winter season, all trucking companies should perform routine maintenance on their fleet. Depending on where the truck is located (and traveling), this may mean winterizing the vehicle and treating the fuel with winter additives. You should also check all headlights and taillights and your defroster to ensure that they are in working order.
4. High Winds
Large trucks and semi trailers are vulnerable to high winds because of their size. A gust of wind can knock a large truck off balance and cause the operator to lose control of the vehicle. Even worse, the vehicle could roll over or jackknife as a result of the winds.
In Virginia, a strong nor’easter can pack wind speeds of over 40 miles per hour. Tractor-trailers that have just emptied their load can easily be swayed in these gusting winds.
It is recommended that truck operators travel with a full tank of gas to give their vehicles extra weight. The extra weight of the fuel can help stabilize the truck in the event of unpredictable wind speeds.
5. Slick Roads
Winter weather can produce all types of moisture. From a light drizzle to heavy snowfall, any precipitation can affect road conditions. For truck drivers, slick roads mean they need a substantial amount of time to bring their vehicle to a complete stop. Traveling too closely during winter weather can cause a fatal rear-end collision.
Truck drivers and their employers should perform regular checks to make sure that all of the wheels have adequate traction. Routine maintenance increased following distance, and slower speeds can help save lives during treacherous weather conditions.
Injured in a Trucking Accident? Contact Our Office Today.
If you are involved in a trucking accident in Virginia, contact Coletrane & Messersmith for a free consultation at (757) 223-4455. Our experienced legal team can help you determine who should be held liable for your injuries.
Accidents involving large trucks and tractor-trailers often result in serious injuries or death. We can help ensure that you receive the compensation you need to move forward after such a devastating event.
We accept cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning you pay no fees unless we win. Call today to get started.