Can Truck Drivers Be Held Liable for Weather-Related Accidents?
Posted On behalf of Pfeifer Morgan & Stesiak on Feb 23, 2018 in Truck Accidents
Weather can affect road conditions and make controlling a large commercial truck difficult, often leading to weather-related truck accidents. However, even when the weather is bad, a vehicle’s driver may be liable for a crash.
If you have been injured in a weather-related accident with a truck, contact our South Bend truck accident attorneys for a free consultation. If we determine that you have a valid case, we will help you pursue maximum compensation for the damages you have suffered.
Request a free, no obligation consultation today: (844) 678-1800
How Weather Affects Truckers' Driving
Various weather conditions can create unique challenges that truck drivers must adjust to in order to remain safe. If weather conditions are too severe to travel safely, extreme caution should be used and drivers should pull over as necessary.
- Foggy weather limits visibility, preventing truckers from viewing the road ahead. Truck drivers should slow their speed to gain reaction time and be aware of traffic surrounding their rig. Truck drivers should utilize roadway markings to ensure they are traveling in a straight path in foggy conditions.
- Rainy weather can significantly reduce visibility and create the risk of hydroplaning, which is when a vehicle loses traction and slides. Drivers can reduce this risk by ensuring their tires are properly inflated, driving without cruise control, using a lower gear and avoiding hard braking.
- Windy weather creates unsteadiness, as gusts can catch the trailer’s exposed sides. Windy conditions can have a much greater impact on trucks than on passenger vehicles.
- Icy conditions create slick road surfaces, impacting a truck driver’s ability to steer and brake. Black ice is an invisible hazard typically found on overpasses and bridges. Drivers must watch for a glossy glaze on the road, as this could be black ice.
Truck drivers are trained to use their best judgement when driving through adverse weather conditions, and so they are responsible for making safe decisions. If a truck driver fails to drive safely, he or she could be held liable for a weather-related crash.
Who Is Liable for a Bad-Weather Truck Accident?
Although the weather can be a factor contributing to why an accident occurred, truck drivers are always responsible for driving safely. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, truck drivers are responsible for the safe operation of their vehicles in hazardous conditions.
If the weather is too severe to drive safely, truck drivers must not put themselves and everyone else at risk by getting onto the roadways with their trucks. When truck drivers fail to exercise reasonable care by driving in bad weather and they cause an accident, they may be held liable.
A truck accident attorney can investigate your crash to determine if the truck driver’s actions were responsible for the accident. An investigation may reveal that the driver failed to act safely, displaying negligent behaviors such as:
- Failing to use headlights when visibility is low
- Driving too fast for weather conditions
- Following too closely
- Ignoring signs
- Driving while distracted
- Not planning carefully for turns and stops
- Not performing safety inspections prior to a trip
Contact Our Attorneys for Help Today
Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak’s South Bend truck accident lawyers are knowledgeable about trucking laws and the complexities of commercial trucking operations. We will investigate your accident to determine liability, and we will help you pursue maximum compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Request a free, no obligation consultation and learn what legal options are available to you. We charge no upfront fees, and we are only paid if our personal injury attorneys are able to help you recover compensation.