The Dangers of Semi-Truck Rollovers During Winter Driving
Winter driving is challenging enough for the best of drivers. Moist environment, icy roads, slick streets, and poor visibility only make it harder for truck drivers. The risk of any type of road accident becomes higher during the cold months.
Semi-truck rollover accidents are particularly common during the winter season. You should choose a reputable semi-truck accident lawyer who can help you obtain your rightful compensation if you were injured in a truck rollover during winter driving.
Frequency of Auto Accidents During Winter Months
Data collected by the US Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration states that:
- Over 70% of the roads in the United States are in regions experiencing cold weather, including rain, ice, sleet, and snow.
- 24% weather related accidents occur on icy or snowy streets.
- 15% weather related crashes happen because of sleet or snowfall.
- 76,000 people are injured and 900 lose their lives every year in a winter weather related accident.
These road risks quadruple for truckers, especially where long-haul drivers are concerned. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration published its collected data in the annual Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts report. This report claims that wet, snow, slush, ice/frost, mud, dirt, and gravel are the primary causes of semi-truck rollover accidents, which are all present during the winter months.
Winter Conditions Increase Semi-Truck Rollover Risk in West Virginia
Identifying the risks on the road is the best way of safeguarding against them. Here are a few factors that increase the risk of semi-truck rollover accidents in West Virginia:
Truck engines have mechanical components that can stall when temperatures dip below zero. Moisture may get inside the engine, such as fuel filter or fuel line. Accumulated water can freeze during a cold snap clogging fuel lines and preventing fuel from reaching the engine. This can cause a driver to lose control of the vehicle, resulting in a crash.
Icy and slushy roads
Roads can become extra slippery because of a freeze-thaw cycle that causes temperature to drop and then rise in increments. Black ice is a thin, clear layer of frozen water which forms on the road. It reduces friction and makes tires lose their grip on the pavement or asphalt.
Sleet or snowfall
Semi-truck drivers sometimes have no choice but to push through heavy sleet and snowfall. This is a risky drive involving slippery roads, low visibility, and freezing temperatures. Driving slowly is a default safety response, which can prove to be perilous. Unfortunately, many truckers take on additional risk by not slowing down.
Heavy winds can get strong during winter months. 18 wheelers may get knocked over by gusty winds as well because of their high and narrow frame. This usually occurs when the trailer has improper weight distribution or is empty. A sharp gust of wind may send the trailer fishtailing or knock the truck over to its side.
Roads can get obstructed by accumulated snow. The bottom layers may freeze if the pile remains untouched for long enough. Drivers may be caught unawares until it’s too late to prevent an accident.
Winter time is difficult for all commercial drivers as the days keep getting shorter until the Winter Solstice (December 21.) Less daylight combined with winter conditions usually means the visibility is limited to headlights alone.
The average truck driver puts in longer hours than normal in November and December. This equates to more truck drivers falling asleep at the wheel or experiencing sleeping disorders.
It is important to understand that trucks weigh 20 to 30 times more as compared to passenger vehicles. Their sheer size and cargo make them top-heavy and at risk of toppling over.
Massive damage can be caused when these vehicles have to navigate roads or take turns too fast. An accident can result in severe injuries and tragic losses.
Potential At-Fault Parties in West Virginia Semi-truck Rollover Accidents
Rollover truck accidents are frequently caused by mistaken actions or decisions of the following parties:
- Drivers: Truck driver may drive rashly or make an unwise decision causing a rollover accident.
- Shippers: The party responsible for shipping goods in a truck may make mistakes that contribute to the rollover accident. Shippers are responsible for ensuring the load and cargo are properly secured. This is to prevent the truck from being thrown out of balance. Improper loading can increase the top load in a truck, increasing the risk of rollover crashes.
- Trucking company: Trucking companies employ numerous drivers for their fleet of trucks. They should ensure the trucks are in a safe working order while conducting their business. They are responsible for performing thorough background checks on the drivers to ensure they have the necessary skills and qualifications for operating the truck. Trucking companies should also monitor the performance of the drivers and trucks.
- Manufacturer: Electrical and mechanical defects can cause a truck to rollover even when there is no human error. Trucks and parts manufacturers need to ensure that their product is of high quality. Mistakes while selecting materials or on the assembly line can be the first link in the chain of events leading to a catastrophic mechanical failure.
There can be more than one entity responsible for your trucking accident. An experienced truck accident attorney will evaluate the circumstances of your accident to identify all at-fault parties.
Speak to a Seasoned Truck Accident Attorney in West Virginia Today
Truck accidents can occur in any type of weather. You shouldn’t have to deal with the consequences of a devastating semi-truck rollover accident and injury on your own. The legal team at Bailey, Javins & Carter, L.C. can help you prepare a strong claim and obtain the maximum compensation you deserve. We are happy to provide you with a free case evaluation. Call us at 800-497-0234 or reach us online today.