Heavy rain and snow can contribute to tragic accidents, particularly for truck drivers. Below, we discuss three reasons why it’s so dangerous to drive a truck in bad weather and what truckers can do to protect themselves.
#1. Trucks Are More Difficult to Maneuver
Trucks’ size and weight make them more difficult to maneuver in general, let alone in poor weather conditions. In fact, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) estimates that a fully loaded truck traveling in good road conditions at highway speeds needs a distance of nearly two football fields to stop. This distance may be even longer on wet or slippery roads.
In wet weather, it’s even more vital that trucks receive proper maintenance, including the installation of appropriate braking systems. According to the IIHS, new large trucks must have automatic brake adjusters, visible brake adjustment indicators, and antilock brakes.
Antilock brakes keep wheels from locking during hard braking and improve driver control of trucks during emergency stops. This, in turn, reduces the likelihood of truck jackknifing.
#2. Other Vehicles Are Harder to See
Trucks have large blind spots directly in front, directly behind, and on either side of them. These blind spots may be even larger in poor weather conditions, because the water kicked up from vehicles’ wheels may make objects appear fuzzier in truckers’ mirrors.
There are several crash avoidance technologies available on many newer truck models. Blind spot detection, in particular, can be a vital tool to prevent truck accidents in bad weather. According to the IIHS, the combination of several crash avoidance technologies could prevent or mitigate 28% of all crashes involving large trucks.
#3. There Is An Increased Risk of Hydroplaning
Hydroplaning occurs when a vehicle’s tires glide on a film of water rather than making contact with the road. This can cause truckers to lose control of the truck. While hydroplaning can occur whenever the roads are wet, it is most common during the first few minutes of light rain. This makes driving in California in the rain particularly dangerous since most instances of wet weather in this state happen during periods of short, light rain.
While hydroplaning isn’t always preventable, there are steps that trucking companies and their drivers can take to reduce the likelihood of this phenomenon. Regularly checking tires’ treads, slowing down during rainy weather, avoiding hard braking, and making slow turns can reduce the likelihood of hydroplaning.
Injured in a Truck Accident? Contact Us Today
Truck accidents can happen in any type of weather. If you or someone you love has been injured in a truck accident, our San Jose personal injury attorneys are here to help. We have the experience and resources needed for big cases, and we can help you obtain justice.
Call Caputo & Van Der Walde LLP at (800) 900-0863 to schedule a free consultation.