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Sharing the road with big trucks in winter weather

Driving when poor visibility and treacherous conditions exist is challenging in passenger vehicles and even more so for 18-wheelers. Big rig drivers require exceptional skill and experience navigating in sleet, snow and freezing rain. The team at Douglas, Joseph & Olson Attorneys at Law have experience protecting the rights of clients injured in a crash with negligent trucking companies with inadequately trained or unqualified drivers.

According to Smart Trucking, winter conditions call for the implementation of preventative safety techniques by professional tractor trailer drivers. Icy or snow-covered roads demand advanced skid control and maneuvering skills. When loaded, commercial trucks may weigh more than 30 times that of your passenger vehicle.

The safety methods drivers use when controlling the truck may appear haphazard or uncertain to those unfamiliar with hauling heavy loads. Here are some winter driving safety techniques employed by big rig drivers in foul weather.

  • Driving slower than the speed limit. This can help the trucker maintain control of the vehicle if the tires slip on ice.
  • Traveling separately from a “pack.” Driving alone, with a sizable distance between themselves and your car can prevent a collision if the driver loses control.
  • Keeping a safe driving distance. You may notice that big rigs slow down when someone passes them. This is to ensure a buffer zone around their truck, which will give them time to respond, rather than react to trouble on the road ahead of them.
  • Driving with hazard lights blinking. Stopping on the side of the road in blinding snow is hazardous for everyone. The truck driver’s goal is to get to an area where they can pull off safely. The lights give you and others a head’s up; chances are they are going far below the speed limit.

If you were in a crash with a truck going too fast for the road conditions, the trucking company might be liable if the driver is underqualified or untrained in proper foul weather techniques. Visit our webpage for more information on this topic.

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