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TRUCKING ACCIDENTS

Bad Weather Truck Accidents in Colorado Springs

Colorado Springs Adverse Weather Truck Accident Law Firm

When a surprise summer storm strikes Colorado, people know it hits hard. Rain may be relentless, impairing your sight and ability to drive a motor car properly. Although commercial vehicle drivers are educated to operate their trucks, semi-trucks, and 18-wheelers in inclement weather, the weight difference between the tractor and trailer of a truck, along with poor vision and traction, may be lethal to Colorado drivers.

Wind Gust

Wind may affect road visibility distance, and snow, dust, or debris will likely infiltrate a driver’s field of view. Furthermore, wind-blown snow or debris might build and cause a lane to become restricted, increasing the likelihood of an accident. Something more to bear in mind when there are strong crosswinds.

Because of their larger profile, trucks are more vulnerable to severe crosswinds than cars. Strong crosswinds may blow a car out of one lane and into another or altogether off the road. When driving a tractor-trailer, it’s especially crucial to be mindful of severe winds, which may cause the trailer to wobble uncontrolled or even tip over.

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Precipitation

Rain, snow, sleet, or hail are examples of bad weather conditions that truck drivers should be cautious of. These circumstances are similar in that they cause your tires to lose grip on the road owing to a combination of water, asphalt, and oil.

This may make it more difficult to slow down and correctly brake and decrease your sight and car control. Furthermore, excessive precipitation might result in lane submersion in extreme circumstances, increasing the likelihood of an accident.

The relative accident risk(R.A.R.) due to precipitation changes based on a range of circumstances, according to a 2016 research published in Weather, Climate, and Society. The researchers discovered that frozen precipitation, larger traffic volumes, and lower temperatures were linked to an increased probability of an accident.

According to a 2019 research released by the American Meteorological Society, when driving amid precipitation, the probability of a fatal crash increase by 34%. The researchers also talk about the effects of climate change, which is predicted to increase precipitation and intensity, resulting in even more difficult driving conditions.

Fog

Foggy weather makes it difficult for drivers to see the road ahead of them, reducing the amount of time they have to react to other cars or potential hazards.

The most dangerous weather condition is fog, making it impossible to assess speed and distances between cars in front and behind you. A driver should avoid using high-beam headlights by using low-beam headlights.

If vision is fully obstructed by fog, the motorist should pull over to the side of the road and wait for it to clear.

Condition of the Pavement

The state of the pavement on which a car is moving may dramatically influence a driver’s ability to manage the car. The weather may directly influence the status of the road, increasing the risk of an accident. Ice or wet leaves will modify the friction on the pavement, resulting in decreased traction between the tires and the road.

This may make the roadways seem very slick, and drivers driving a tractor-trailer should pay careful attention to this. Though contemporary anti-lock brakes will automatically pump over slick surfaces when braking, each component of the combined car must be examined and cleared for the system to work effectively.

Weather conditions may also permanently alter the pavement’s quality over time, as seen by the formation of frost heaves and potholes. A frost heave is a puddle in the road that emerges as frozen water in thaws.

If your car’s suspension is inadequate, driving over a frozen heave or a pothole may cause a lot of bouncing, making your car difficult to drive, particularly if other weather conditions are present.

Considerations for Truck Drivers to Avoid Weather-Related Trucking Accidents

Operating a truck or commercial vehicle successfully on the road requires an additional set of skills and experience, and adverse weather circumstances need even more concentration and prudence.

The following are critical considerations for the driver of a tractor-trailer or other commercial vehicle:

Visibility

Large blind areas in the front, rear, and both sides of tractor-trailers may enhance the danger of an accident.

When vision is further limited owing to weather conditions, truck drivers must pay special attention to other cars on the road and avoid suddenly switching lanes.

Braking

Truck drivers need more time than other cars to come to a full stop.

When the weather is bad, particularly when there is a lot of rain, the stropping distance will greatly rise. Furthermore, if the truck is completely loaded, it will take almost two football fields for the car to reach the summit.

Truck drivers must keep the weight of their car in mind and react appropriately to any extra weather impacts. Truck drivers should not use their Jake Brakes on slick roads since the brakes are not designed to slow the car down in icy or rainy weather conditions.

Car drivers should also avoid overusing their foot breaks while their truck and trailer are not out of alignment.

Speed

There are two speeding laws in Pennsylvania: basic speeding legislation and an absolute speed limit. The fundamental speeding legislation prohibits driving at a speed that is “higher than is reasonable and sensible,” which means you must be able to predict how weather changes will affect permissible speeds.

It is advised that you reduce your speed by half or more if the roads are wet or very snowy. Driving at a pace that prevents you from stopping safely breaches fundamental speeding legislation. Even stronger rules known as absolute speed limits are established and will result in a legal infraction if breached.

15 mph in school zones, 25 mph in most residential districts, 35 mph in urban areas, 60 to 70 mph on highways, and 55 mph on other roads are the absolute speed limits. If you were harmed in a speeding-related collision, please contact our attorneys.

Weather Observation

Because the weather may quickly shift from terrible to dangerous driving conditions, truck drivers must carefully watch the predictions and depend on their training and expertise.

If driving the car safely becomes too difficult, drivers should pull over and wait for the storm to pass.

Even if your firm expects you to meet a delivery deadline at a particular time, it may be prudent to avoid the very real risk of being involved in an accident due to adverse weather conditions.

Furthermore, the Surface Transportation Assistance Act (STAA) preserves commercial drivers’ rights to decline to operate their cars when the weather is bad.

Pre-Inspections

It should go without saying that you should examine your tractor-trailer or another commercial vehicle at least once a year. The dust plugs should be correctly inserted and seated, and the air brake chamber housings should be examined for damage.

The air-disc brakes must also be suited for winter driving, requiring that the pads move freely inside the carrier. To avoid corrosion and ensure excellent braking, oil the slack adjusters, clevis pin connections, cam tubes, shafts, and bushings.

Understanding Your Surface Transportation Act Rights

The Surface Transportation Assistance Act, or STAA, is a federal statute that protects commercial truckers from being fired or reprimanded for declining to travel in hazardous weather.

Commercial drivers must lower their speed when there are “hazardous road conditions, such as those produced by snow, ice, sleet, fog, mist, rain, dust, or smoke,” according to the United States Code of Federal Regulations [49 C.F.R. 392.14].

“[i]f circumstances become sufficiently risky, the operation of the commercial motor car should be terminated and not restarted until the commercial motor car can be safely driven,” says the law.

392.14 of the Code of Federal Regulations. To put it another way, if the weather is too bad to travel safely, commercial vehicle operators have the right to cease driving until the situation improves.

Without fear of retaliation from their bosses.

If a driver is dismissed or reprimanded, they may appeal to the STAA, and if their rejection is found to be reasonable, they are protected under federal law.

Service Hours

Weather Conditions and Regulations

Each year, almost 100,000 individuals are killed or wounded due to heavy truck accidents, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Unfortunately, over 73 percent of those killed in deadly accidents were not huge truck passengers. As a result, federal law now includes hours-of-service limitations for truck drivers to avoid distracted and tired driving. The following rules are among them:

The 14-hour Driving Window — truck drivers are given a 14-hour “window” in which they may drive for up to 11 hours; however, the window must be activated after a truck driver has been off duty for at least 10 hours.

The 11-hour Driving Limit: A motorist may not drive for more than 8 hours in a row without taking a 30-minute break and may only drive for a total of 11 hours in 14 hours.

The 60/70-Hour Duty Limit — A driver may not operate a truck for more than 60 hours in seven days or more than 70 hours in eight days.

The 34-Hour Restart: A truck driver must take 34 consecutive hours off duty to “restart” his 60 or 70-hour clock.

Due to these hours-of-service requirements, truck drivers may be motivated to travel through bad weather to keep their 14-hour driving window from expiring.

Although drivers are often given an extra 2 hours of driving time in poor weather, this may not deter drivers from attempting to beat the clock and endangering more Colorado drivers.

Because these restrictions may be complicated, and truck drivers may be inclined to skirt them to get home faster, it is critical to consult an attorney who is familiar with them if you have been involved in a truck accident.

Weather Conditions and Service Hours

Although commercial truck drivers are given an extra two hours to reach their destination if severe weather has hampered their journey, such slippery circumstances come with their own set of concerns.

Even with air brakes, stopping a truck may be difficult since the average truck weighs 20-30 times more than a conventional car.

Sudden stops may need a great deal of brake power, and if the road is slippery, the truck’s tractor and trailer may become unbalanced due to a lack of friction.

This may result in “jackknifing,” which happens when the front and rear ends of the car fold into an “L” or “V” configuration.

This is very risky for other motorists because the truck driver will often be alone.

When the car is out of sync, you have control over it. When a truck driver detects the possibility of a jackknife collision, he or she may try to overcompensate, which might have implications on its own if the overcompensation creates an unanticipated sideswipe collision as a result of the car’s major blind areas.

However, a “rollover” accident, which occurs when a truck driver fails to adapt his or her speed to bends in the road, particularly when the conditions are slippery, is one of the most common causes of heavy truck accidents.

A car moving at an unsuitable speed around a curved path may begin to tilt away from the direction of the curve. It may overturn, depending on the weight and type of the cargo being carried, as well as road curvature.

While ordinary motor cars, such as cars and compact S.U.V.s, have a low center of gravity that helps keep them grounded through turns, trucks, semi-trucks, and tractor-trailers have a greater center of gravity, making them more prone to flip onto their side or roof.

Because a huge truck’s rollover may block practically every lane of traffic, you may not be able to stop in time to prevent the disaster, and you may have nowhere to turn.

After a Large Truck Accident, Recovering Compensation

Because huge trucks are deemed to be riskier to drive than ordinary cars, Colorado insurance regulations require commercial motor cars to hold insurance coverage that may exceed one million dollars.

Although commercial motor cars registered in Colorado or another no-fault state are still required to have no-fault insurance to help cover medical expenses, you are still entitled to the following compensation if you were injured as a result of negligent truck driving in dangerous weather conditions:

Out-of-pocket medical expenses;

Lost wages;

Wages and earning potential that will be lost in the future;

Loss of pleasure in life; and

Pain and suffering.

Furthermore, suppose the court determines that the weather conditions were so poor that a truck driver was driving at an excessive rate of speed under normal conditions. In that case, you may be entitled to a verdict that the truck driver was operating the car recklessly, entitling you to additional punitive damages to deter similar behavior in future drivers.

To discuss your case, contact a personal injury attorney in Denver.

If you or a loved one has suffered personal injuries due to a truck collision in bad weather, you may be entitled to compensation. Take advantage of your no-risk, no-obligation consultation with the Warrior Trucking Accident Attorneys, the area’s leading personal injury and truck accident attorneys.

They are here to fight for your freedom to drive safely and advise you on whether you have a personal injury claim under Colorado law. Call or email them now at 719-300-1100.

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