The Erie area's notorious winter weather presents a host of driving challenges for any driver, but especially for those who operate large semi-trucks. Any large, heavy vehicle requires a longer stopping time than smaller, lighter vehicles, but allowing more time for stopping is just one among many safety precautions that truck drivers must take during the winter months. In order to prioritize safety and avoid
, truck drivers and their employers must follow a host of winter weather safety guidelines.
Speeding while driving a truck is always worrisome, but during the winter, one can be driving at an unsafe speed while still technically driving under the posted speed limit. When ice and snow are on the ground, all drivers must maintain a speed that is safe for conditions - many times, this speed is actually well under the posted speed limit. Another precaution that truck drivers can take is to not only stop more slowly, but accelerate more slowly, as well. On icy roads, quick acceleration can cause a vehicle to slip and slide and potentially veer in a direction other than straight ahead.
Truck drivers also can utilize their headlights during the daytime hours and avoid using cruise control. In addition, all drivers should only pass snowplows when it is safe to do so. Unfortunately, many times, it is simply too risky to pass a snowplow, but drivers will take the risk anyway. A head-on collision with another car can easily result or even a multi-vehicle accident involving the snowplow itself. When a semi- truck, a large plow and a passenger car come into contact, the chances of injury are extremely high for anyone inside the smallest vehicle.
Truck drivers must always be attentive to road conditions, but especially during Pennsylvania's colder months. Water freezes at 32 degrees, so drivers can benefit from keeping an eye on the local temperature. Truckers also should note that if there are large trucks and four-wheel drive vehicles spun-out on the side of the road or in the median, it's time to exit the roads and wait it out.
Driving a big rig without regard to weather conditions can be a dangerous form of negligence. Victims of wintertime truck accidents may wish to share their experiences with a personal injury attorney who can help them hold negligent drivers accountable, if need be.
Source: Washington State Department of Transportation, "
Ice and snow, take it slow
," accessed Dec. 20, 2014