Dangerous Road Conditions Result in Tractor-Trailer Accident
As the last of winter weather comes to an end and the spring (and its accompanying showers) begins, roadways can become perilously slippery. While wet roads can be dangerous for any vehicles, tractor-trailers and other large trucks are the vehicles that pose the biggest risk to other roadway occupants, should they lose control. A recent local accident is an example of what can happen when semis and other large trucks lose control in wet weather.
Just last month, an early-morning collision involving a tractor-trailer resulted in a shutdown of the northbound I-81. Roads dotted with patches of ice proved perilous for a tractor-trailer passing through Rockbridge County during early morning hours. The truck lost control and crashed, causing a backup reaching as far back as two miles.
Drivers should always take care to drive cautiously in wet or icy weather, but tractor-trailers and semi-trucks are especially vulnerable to losing control under these conditions. While the average passenger vehicle weighs between 2,000 and 5,000 lbs, large commercial trucks can weigh up to 80,000 lbs. As a result, even when driving conditions are ideal, fully-loaded big rigs require a great deal more space to come to a stop. When a loaded tractor-trailer is traveling at highway speeds, the truck will need up to 625 feet to come to a complete stop after the driver recognizes a hazard on the road. Braking distances are even greater when a trailer is completely empty, as the loaded trailer provides additional traction for the truck’s brakes.
When roads are wet or icy, large trucks may lose traction and begin to hydroplane. When a truck’s tires lose contact with the road, they can become entirely unable to control the direction or speed of their vehicle, potentially threatening the lives of those around them. Drivers who fail to follow best practices for large trucks in wet weather, such as by avoiding roads when temperatures are below freezing and rain is expected, or failing to brake correctly, can cause serious accidents. Carrier companies can be held liable in court for failure to properly hire or train drivers for driving in rainy conditions, or for failure to ensure that trucks are properly maintained so that they are safe on wet roads.
If you’ve been injured in a car or truck accident in Virginia, find out if you have a claim for money damages by contacting the seasoned and knowledgeable Charlottesville personal injury attorneys at Buck, Toscano & Tereskerz for a consultation, at 434-977-7977.