It is wise to be extra cautious this time of year because of the increased likelihood of winter weather truck accidents. Determining who is at fault after these unfortunate events can be complicated.
Each year in this country, almost one-quarter of all weather-related motor vehicle crashes occur on snowy, icy, and slushy pavements. Winter weather accidents lead to more than 1,300 fatalities and 116,800 injuries annually. The Federal Highway Administration reports that 15 percent of winter weather collisions happen when it is sleeting or snowing outside.
Many people assume truck drivers are responsible for accidents. Although this can be the case, other parties might be liable for what happened.
Truck drivers owe other motorists a duty of reasonable care, and this involves driving safely, preparing the vehicle, following the laws, and checking the weather conditions. Some of them are owner-operators, and this means that they are self-employed. If they crash into your vehicle, they could be held responsible.
Trucking companies that employ drivers also have that same duty of care. They are responsible for vetting their drivers and ensuring they are appropriately licensed and trained. In most cases, the trucking company is liable for an accident.
Other parties are typically involved with a truck’s operations. Besides the driver and trucking company, vendors might be responsible for the truck’s maintenance. Vendors cannot easily skip essential steps, like not replacing worn-out brakes. Trucks must also be inspected periodically, which might be the driver or company’s task.
How Do Truck Drivers Cause Winter Weather Truck Accidents?
Truck drivers who pilot large commercial vehicles need years of experience dealing with winter weather conditions to drive safely, but even the most conscientious ones end up in crashes. Driving trucks weighing over 80,000 pounds requires skill.
Winter weather coincides with the busy holiday season, so more large trucks on Ohio roads are trying to make deliveries on time. The added pressure from their employers and often impossible schedules can make these drivers behave differently. They might speed up to make deadlines, drive in the left lane, and cut off other vehicles, for example. Even though their behind-the-wheel hours are limited, some might exceed them and become fatigued. Others might drive under the influence, tailgate other drivers, or act negligently.
All vehicles can experience excessive wear and tear in the wintertime. A small tire cut can expand when icy outside, and sidewall damage can escalate into a blowout. Truck brake failures are another issue since these complex systems are used more often to slow down and stop when it is slippery.
The precipitation, high winds, fog, and low visibility that accompany winter weather can make it near-impossible for truck drivers to see clearly, even with their large windshields. They also have large blind spots, so iced-over side and rear-view mirrors can be problematic.
Commercial trucks also have exposed sides that high winds can impact. This makes them less stable and more challenging to steer and stop. Truck drivers must be on high alert in winter weather, ensuring their tires are properly inflated and ready to use lower gears when needed. They should also avoid hard braking and using cruise control when slippery.
Should I Hire a Dayton Truck Accident Lawyer?
Establishing negligence in a truck accident can be complex, especially since multiple parties are likely involved. It is vital to consider every angle; gathering evidence from the right sources can build a solid case. Your Dayton truck accident lawyer can do the following:
- Investigate the accident scene.
- Obtain records from truck maintenance providers and inspection stations.
- Research the trucker’s driving record.
- Work with expert witnesses like accident reconstruction specialists.
A Dayton Truck Accident Lawyer at Wright & Schulte LLC Can Determine Liability in a Winter Weather Truck Accident Case
A skilled Dayton truck accident lawyer at Wright & Schulte LLC can offer legal guidance if you have been injured in a crash. For a free consultation, complete our online form or us at 937-222-7477. Located in Dayton, Ohio, we serve clients in Cincinnati, Columbus, Cleveland, Centerville, Toledo, Youngstown, and Miamisburg.