Truck drivers often have to drive through bad winter weather, including storms, so they can stay on schedule and get their deliveries made on time. Unfortunately, when a trucker has to drive under conditions of snow or ice, the truck driver faces an increased risk of becoming involved in a truck collision.
A truck driver is expected to operate his vehicle in a competent and professional way at all times, which means knowing how to drive safely on icy roads and snowy roads, and knowing how to respond when it is snowing as he is driving.
If a truck driver does not believe he can travel safely given the conditions of the road, he should stop and take a break until the weather improves. If he believes safe driving is possible, he should operate his truck in a prudent way to account for the bad weather. If a trucker fails to do this and an accident happens, the driver can be liable for losses.
There are many different safety tips that truck drivers should consider in order to be safe on snowy roads and to reduce the chances an accident will occur. Some of the things truckers should do in order to try to avoid collisions are listed by Smart Trucking. Tips for truck drivers include:
- Leaving a sufficiently long following distance. It is never a good idea for truckers to be too close to the car in front, but it becomes even more important to leave space when the weather is bad. Ideally, truckers should strive to leave as much as 1/4 of a mile in between the truck and the car in front of them if the roads are icy or if snow is impacting visibility.
- Avoid using the Jake Brake on icy roads and be smart about hitting the brakes. You should try to avoid overuse of the foot brake except in circumstances where the entire unit is completely straight on the road. If the whole unit isn't straight, this could cause the trailer to slide and spin out when the truck slows and the trailer does not. This could potentially cause a jackknife accident. The risk of this is greater when the trailer is empty.
- Keep fuel tanks topped up. This will add extra weight to the truck, which can help with traction.
- Slow down. Driving at a slow speed, sometimes below the maximum allowable truck speed limit, is a good idea if weather conditions are bad when you are on the roads.
If a truck driver does not take reasonable precautions to avoid winter weather accidents, any victims who get hurt by a truck collision should consult with an experienced attorney to find out what legal options are available to them for getting compensation for crash losses.