Winter Can Mean More Truck Accidents

Winter Can Mean More Truck Accidents

The winter months often mean more dangerous roads for everyone. If you drive on the highway, you might encounter a lot of semi-trucks. Even in parts of the country that don’t ordinarily see heavy snowfall, the roads can get icy and slick.

Worse, drivers in warmer climates aren’t always accustomed to driving in winter weather, and this can lead them to underestimate just how dangerous the roads can be. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) offers some guidelines for staying as safe as possible on the highway through the winter months. If you have been involved in any type of car wreck or truck accident in Texas,  it’s in your best interest to speak with a Dallas truck accident lawyer to protect your rights and review all of your legal options. 

Prepare Your Car for Winter

Even if you don’t live in an area that requires snow tires, it’s still important to get your car thoroughly checked out before the cooler weather hits. Take your vehicle to a mechanic and have them look it over, checking for fluids that need to be topped off, as well as tires that might need to be replaced. It’s also a good idea to get an oil change before bad weather sets in.

Your mechanic can also check to make sure all of your exterior lights are working and can replace any lights that have burned out. Ask your mechanic to check for leaks in your car’s cooling system, and make sure your vehicle has enough coolant before you drive. You should also ensure that you have enough windshield washer fluid in your car’s reservoir, as this can help you clear ice and snow from your windshield.  

Check for Recalls

Many people are unaware that cars are frequently subject to recalls. Auto manufacturers have an obligation to notify car owners when a part is defective or something needs to be serviced or replaced on a vehicle.

If you bought your car used, or you moved since you purchased your vehicle, you might not receive notification of recalls in the mail. This possibility is why it’s important to check the NHTSA website on a regular basis. You can find recall information for your specific vehicle. If your car has been recalled, the manufacturer must repair it at no cost to you.

Be Familiar with Your Vehicle

Are you driving a new car? Or is this winter the first time you’ve handled your car in the snow and ice? Maybe you moved, and you’re not used to driving in hazardous winter conditions.

Now is the time to familiarize yourself with your vehicle. Some experts suggest taking your car for a drive on back roads or a residential neighborhood with slower speed limits. If you do this when the first snow starts falling, you can learn how your car handles in the ice and snow without worrying about being on the highway or traveling at high speeds.

Be Prepared for Emergencies

You never know when you’ll need to stay in your vehicle until help arrives. This is why it’s important to stock your car with enough supplies and emergency equipment to keep you safe. The NHTSA suggests creating an emergency supply kit that contains a snow shovel, broom or ice scraper. You should also have some kind of abrasive material, such as cat litter, on hand in the event your car gets stuck in the snow and you need to create some friction for your tires.

Additionally, it’s a good idea to keep jumper cables, flares and a flashlight in your emergency kit. You should also include blankets and water, along with some snacks. Finally, make sure you have a cell phone charger and any medication you need to take on a regular basis.

If you get stuck on the side of the road in an emergency situation, the NHTSA says it’s important to stay with your vehicle and to avoid overexerting yourself. Instead of leaving your car, put flares or markers around it so other vehicles can see you. Doing this will also help the police or emergency workers find your vehicle.

It’s also important to avoid running your car for extended periods of time, as this can increase the danger of carbon monoxide poisoning. Instead, run your car sporadically if you need to keep warm, and crack your window to make sure you get enough fresh air.

Plan Your Route Ahead of Time

It’s also a good idea to know your route before you leave the house. You should never attempt to plan your route with a GPS as you drive, as this can lead to distractions that increase your risk of being involved in a car accident. Leave with enough time to reach your destination without rushing in winter weather. It’s better to be late than to be involved in a car accident.

The NHTSA also recommends letting other people know when you plan to arrive. This way they know you’re en route and can check in with you if they don’t hear from you at the time you’re supposed to reach your destination.   

If you or a loved one have been involved in a truck accident, call Attorney Zach Herbert at Herbert & Eberstein today.


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Why Are Truck Accidents on the Rise?

Why Are Truck Accidents on the Rise?

Despite many advances in safety equipment, research shows that truck accidents continue to go up. This is an important subject for everyone on the road, as truck accidents tend to result in more serious injuries than a regular car accident.

Technological advances can only do so much, which is why experts have started looking for reasons behind the high rate of truck accidents, as well as possible ways to reduce the number of tractor-trailer crashes on highways.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a truck accident, you have important legal rights. Because truck accidents involve many complex legal issues, it’s important for you to discuss all of your options with an experienced truck wreck lawyer.

Studies Show Truck Accidents Have Increased

While car accident rates have gone down over the years, the number of truck accidents has climbed steadily upward. According to a report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), there were more than 3,800 truck-related fatalities in 2015, which is a 22 percent increase since 2009.

Why Truck Accidents Happen

Although truck accidents can happen for a number of different reasons, the experts who research truck safety are always looking for reasons why the rate of accidents has gone up. Research has shown that truck accidents occur due to a number of driver behaviors and, in some cases, certain types of technology.

Driver Distractions

Just like any other motorist, truck drivers can be distracted by phones, the radio, or even navigation systems. Any time a driver’s eyes or attention is off the road, there’s a potential for a serious accident to occur.

According to a study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a driver’s risk of being involved in a crash doubles after taking their eyes off the road for two seconds.

Under federal law, truck drivers are only permitted to use hands-free devices behind the wheel. However, studies show that even hands-free technology can be distracting for a driver, as it takes a driver’s focus off the task of driving.

The reality is that most people can’t multitask. Instead of performing two tasks at once, the brain rapidly switches between the two tasks, and never fully concentrates on one or the other.  

Truck Driver Fatigue

Truckers often work long hours, with little opportunity to get the rest they need. Although federal law limits how long a trucker can drive without mandatory rest periods, the reality is that many trucking companies push their drivers to bend or break the rules.

In trucking, time is money, and delays can result in serious financial consequences. Unfortunately, some trucking companies put the burden on their drivers, which can lead to catastrophic truck accidents

Unfamiliar Routes

Many truckers follow the same route week after week. However, construction, traffic, and detours can sometimes force a truck driver to travel an unfamiliar route. As anyone who has ever driven in an unfamiliar city knows, finding your way around a new area can make you distracted behind the wheel and also lead to accidents.

Equipment Malfunctions

Semi-trucks have a lot of systems and moving parts. Additionally, it’s extremely important for truck drivers to ensure that the loads they’re carrying inside the truck’s trailer are properly balanced. An unbalanced load or a sudden mechanical problem can cause a trucker to lose control. In some cases, a shifting load can even cause a truck to jackknife, putting other motorists in danger.

Impatient Drivers

Many motorists don’t like to drive near semi-trucks, and they might make dangerous maneuvers to get around one. These dangerous maneuvers can put the trucker and the motorist in danger, as trucks have blind spots on all four sides of the truck. When a motorist weaves in and out of traffic or cuts off a truck by merging in front of one, they can cause a serious accident.

Motorists can reduce their risk of being involved in a truck accident by maintaining plenty of space between their vehicle and the semi-truck. It’s also best to avoid driving right next to a truck for an extended period of time, as truckers usually can’t see a car that is driving right next to the truck’s trailer.

Unqualified Truck Drivers

To obtain a commercial driver’s license, an individual must past specific tests. However, it’s up to trucking carriers and trucking schools to ensure the coursework and testing procedures satisfy federal and state requirements. Without a great deal of oversight, there are cases in which an unqualified driver is permitted to get behind the wheel of a semi-truck. There have been many cases in which a trucker’s license was only revoked after the trucker caused a serious accident.  

Working with a Dallas Truck Accident Lawyer

If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, it’s important to speak with a Dallas truck accident lawyer. These types of cases are usually more complicated than a regular car accident case. An experienced truck accident lawyer will explain your options and help you make informed decisions about your case.     


Media Contact:

Dallas Truck Accident Attorney Zachary Herbert

T: (214) 414-3808