Since commercial truck drivers are held to a higher standard than other drivers, part of that standard is paying closer attention to road conditions. This is especially important during winter months. But some over-the-road drivers do not alter their driving on snow-covered or icy roads. Such awareness of these dangerous conditions is essential. Semi-trailer trucks (18-wheelers) dwarf every car on the road. The average passenger car weighs about 3,000 pounds. A loaded tractor trailer can weigh 40 tons (about 80,000 pounds). And fully-loaded tandem trailer rigs (two together) can weigh significantly more.
Smart truckers always use common sense and their best judgment. These good trucker driving traits that protect all drivers include:
� Slowing down – At-fault accidents are mostly due to excessive speed. Driving at the posted speed limit is often too fast for snow-covered or icy road conditions. Smart truckers slow down and take as much time as necessary.
� Keeping safe following distances – Good drivers leave plenty of room between their truck and the vehicle in front of it, sometimes as much as 1/4 mile if possible.
� Don't stop on the shoulder of the road – Especially in low-visibility winter situations, especially ‘blinding snow,' other vehicles can mistake a shoulder position for being on the road and, as a result, slam into the back of the rig.
� They don't drive distracted – Truckers spend long hours behind the wheel. Some get distracted by texting, talking on the phone, or even watching videos on smartphones or iPads while driving. These all lead to accidents. Conscientious truckers focus on their job, not their smartphone, especially when driving in snow and ice.
� Good winter truckers don't "fight" their deadlines – Because of tight delivery schedules, some truckers push on when weather gets bad. But in a blizzard, the schedule must take a back seat to safety. Driving in low visibility endangers everyone; it's tragic when a big rig driver's "got to make time" and ends up in a serious accident for the sake of the schedule.
� Smart truckers are always prepared for bad weather conditions – They make sure they are equipped with necessary supplies for all situations. They continuously monitor their wipers, wiper motor, lights (especially brake and tail lights), and washer fluid, drain moisture from the air tanks, and consistently clean windows and mirrors.
In truth, many of the good-driving habits listed above are instructions that are passed on by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to prevent truck accidents and ensure safety, regardless of the weather conditions. Sadly, however, many truck companies often ignore common safety "suggestions," and some drivers skip the thorough "walk-around" and inspection before climbing into the cab.
Trucking accidents that happen due to weather conditions can be difficult to prove, especially if adverse weather means you might share some responsibility for the wreck. This is why an experienced truck accident lawyer benefits you after a serious wintry truck accident injures or kills innocent victims.