One might think that the size and weight of big rigs would help these vehicles stay more stable in snow, rain and other weather conditions, but Mother Nature disagrees. Bad weather can make large trucks tougher to control and harder to stop, which poses a risk to everyone else on the road.
What Weather Is Dangerous for Semi Trucks?
Dallas, Fort Worth and all of East Texas experience all sorts of weather throughout the year. Powerful rain storms roll through, sometimes producing high winds and hail.
Winter can mean snow, freezing rain and ice. Here are some of the weather conditions that increase the risk of a truck crash:
- High winds and crosswinds: Any weather system that produces strong gusts of wind or sustained straight-line winds is a threat to big trucks. Trucks pulling the typical large, enclosed trailers are especially vulnerable, because the huge trailer acts like a ship’s sail, catching the wind and potentially making the truck tip over or veer all over the road. Plus, trucks have a high center of gravity, adding to their tendency to tip over in strong winds.
- Heavy rain: Wet roads pose the same hazards for trucks as they do for the rest of us – less traction. Rainwater mixes with oils on the surface of the road to create slippery conditions that make it harder for drivers to stay in control at high speeds. Heavy rain also reduces visibility, adding to the danger. According to the American Meteorological Society, the chance of fatal auto accidents spikes by 34% during precipitation events.
- Dust, fog or smoke: Whether it’s smoke from wildfires, dust blowing across the Texas plain or simply a foggy morning, driving is more dangerous when these variables exist. A trucker will have reduced visibility, making a crash more likely.
- Snow, ice and sleet: Many truckers seem to think they don’t need to slow down in wintery conditions. And even if they do slow down, an 80,000 pound truck is going to be hard to stop on snow or ice. Semis are often the cause of multi-car pile-ups in winter, leaving many injured.
Article 392.13 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations states that truck drivers must use caution in any condition that affects visibility or traction, including the weather conditions we’ve just listed.
But sometimes the pressure of delivering on time makes truck drivers ignore the conditions and push ahead too fast, leading to serious accidents.
Stay Safe Around Trucks in Bad Weather
Those of us who drive regular vehicles and share the roads with trucks during bad weather should always follow these recommendations to stay safe:
- Stay out of the trucker’s blind spots.
- Don’t cut in front of a truck.
- Don’t pass trucks on the right.
- Try to avoid having one truck directly in front and another truck directly behind you.
Legal Help For Those Hurt in Truck Wrecks
If you get hurt in a crash involving a truck due to bad weather or some other cause, reach out to the attorneys of Ted B. Lyon & Associates. We are one of Texas’s leading injury law firms handling truck accident litigation. Call 877-Ted-Lyon / 877-833-5966 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation today.