The winter months are plagued by incredibly dangerous road conditions, especially in Indiana where winter temperatures often sit below freezing. Ideally, you should avoid driving during dangerous weather conditions, but many people don’t have that luxury. Truckers continue working during the winter months, and with their heavy vehicles, come great risks. Heavy-duty trucks often weigh around 40 tons, and they can even weigh up to 67 tons. That kind of weight can easily kill someone if their vehicle is hit. Whether you’re a trucker or another driver traversing Indiana roads, you need to stay safe this winter season to avoid serious injuries or even death.
Indiana’s Deadly Winter Roads
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) conducted research indicating that Indiana is one of the most dangerous states for winter car accidents, and it’s especially dangerous in northern Indiana. Most of Indiana receives over two feet of snow every year, and northern Indiana usually receives over five feet.
Indiana’s dangerous road conditions are especially difficult for semi-trucks. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) indicates that the average truck has a stopping distance that’s twenty to forty percent more than a standard passenger vehicle. This means that it takes a truck significantly more time to stop if there’s an oncoming obstacle or a stopped vehicle on the road. This poor stopping distance is made far worse by slick and icy road conditions.
Every year, there are around 6,000 people killed and 445,000 people injured due to bad weather conditions, such as ice, snow, or poor visibility. Being hit by a truck greatly increases your risk of serious injury and death.
Factors that enhance your likelihood of experiencing a wintertime wreck include freezing temperatures, poor visibility due to snow or fog, and bad vehicle maintenance. You may be able to get away with avoiding routine vehicle maintenance for a period, but the road challenges that appear in the winter months make it even more essential for you to perform regular maintenance. You need to ensure that your vehicle’s tires have optimal traction and that your brakes are ready to handle the difficult road conditions.
Additionally, you should always avoid driving while distracted. Even looking at your phone for a second can lead to life-threatening repercussions, especially when the roads are unsafe.
Truck Safety Requirements
Indiana requires semi-truck drivers to abide by certain basic rules for operating their vehicles during the winter months. Semi-trucks are required to have a designated amount of chains on their tires to optimize driving safety, and drivers are not allowed to drive through standing water, which can hurt their brake functionality. They are also required to adjust their driving habits to ensure their own safety as well as others’ safety while driving on winter roads.
The Indiana Commercial Driver’s License Manual (CDLM) requires truckers to make sure that their equipment is working properly and is ready for the winter conditions. They are required to check their heaters, brakes, and antifreeze levels to ensure that their trucks avoid freezing and that their brakes can handle the winter roads.
Negligent Truck Drivers
Although most truck drivers perform their due diligence and reasonable care while driving in difficult winter conditions, some truckers fail to exercise proper caution. When truck drivers operate their vehicles irresponsibly, they needlessly risk their own lives and the lives of others.
Instances in which truck drivers can be found negligent in a traffic accident include:
- Driving too fast for winter roads
- Following too closely behind other drivers
- Stopping their truck unexpectedly
- Abruptly changing lanes
- Failing to properly maintain their vehicles
- Driving while distracted
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
If you experience a traffic accident caused by a truck driver, there may be more liable parties than just the driver. The trucking company could have insisted the driver operate their vehicle in bad conditions, or they could have failed to maintain the vehicle properly. Additionally, if the truck’s load caused the accident, the people who loaded the vehicle could also be held liable.
Contact Truck Accident Personal Injury Attorneys
If you were injured in an accident that was caused by someone else’s negligence, you need to contact expert Indiana personal injury lawyers to help you with your case. You could receive compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Contact the attorneys at Crossen Law Firm to get the money you deserve for your traffic accident. Call us at 317-401-8626 or contact us here.