Winter is not even here yet, and already Texas drivers have faced several winter storm hazards. But perhaps the greatest challenges are for semitruck drivers who have to navigate their big rigs through snow and ice.
Truck drivers who get in accidents imperil other drivers and their passengers due to the massive weight and size of the trucks in comparison to the much smaller passenger vehicles. Below are some suggestions to reduce accidents that cause injuries and deaths.
Slow it down
The posted speed limit will be too fast in many types of winter weather conditions, including rain, sleet, snow, ice and fog. The posted limits are the maximum speeds to be driven in optimal conditions, so truckers and others should reduce speeds accordingly. Sometimes, it’s safest to pull over and ride out a spate of particularly nasty weather.
Use care when braking
When the roads are slick, it’s much harder for a semitruck’s tires to maintain gripping contact on the surface. If the tires aren’t making contact with the road, braking can become impossible. Slamming on the brakes is a recipe for disaster, as truckers must decrease speed gradually to avoid losing control and jackknifing.
Truckers should carry enough gear and supplies so that they can cope with adverse weather conditions. While this typically doesn’t happen here in Harris County, a heavy snowstorm can grind all traffic to a halt. Having warm clothing, blankets, food and drinks can be a lifesaver in these dangerous conditions.
Fill ‘er up
Especially here in the south, if there is snow accumulation of even a few inches, the power may go off. It could be off for days while utility crews repair and replace downed power lines. Keeping a full fuel tank ensures that you won’t need to pull over and wait until the power is back on to get gas.
If you get hit by a semitruck due to bad weather, it’s important to realize that you have a right to compensation if the accident was the fault of the truck driver.