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Weather-Related Truck Crashes

Truck drivers must be diligent in taking all possible measures to prevent causing an accident during bad weather.

Failure to do so can result in jackknifing, rollovers, multi-car pileups, and other devastating crashes.

Over a million weather-related truck crashes each year. Of the approximate 5 million vehicle accidents each year, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) estimates that 22 percent – more than a million crashes – are weather-related. These accidents kill 6,000 people and injure more than 445,000 each year.

When a tractor trailer is involved in a weather-related crash, the consequences can be even more devastating. Below are some of the common adverse weather conditions and why they can be dangerous.

High Winds

Due to blowing snow or dust, high wind speed can decrease a truck driver’s visibility and reaction time. Debris and snow that blows into the road can also obstruct lanes and force a driver to quickly move out of the way or drive over it. Either decision can endanger nearby motorists.

Rain and Snow

In addition to creating slippery roads, precipitation like snow, sleet and rain can greatly decrease the distance a truck driver is able to see. Drivers may have significantly less time to react to a sudden stop or other issue as a result.

When rainy conditions lead to flooding, travel lanes can become submerged, forcing truck drivers and other motorists to change lanes unexpectedly. The FHWA notes that the majority of weather-related crashes occur on wet pavement and during rainfall.

Fog

At any time of the day, fog can substantially diminish visibility and drivers’ reaction time.

Regarding long-term effects, adverse weather can greatly affect the pavement on highways and small roads, resulting in infrastructure damage and year-round hazardous road conditions.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) urges commercial vehicle drivers to change their driving habits during bad weather conditions. In fact, the FMCSA recommends drivers enter curves slowly and reduce their speed by a third on wet roads and by half or more on snowy roads.