Winter driving conditions can be treacherous for all drivers, but especially for those operating large commercial trucks. With icy roads, reduced visibility and other winter hazards, truck drivers must exercise extreme caution to prevent accidents. Unfortunately, even with careful driving, truck accidents can still occur due to factors outside of their control, such as bad weather. Be on the lookout for these common causes of truck accidents in an average Omaha winter.
Nebraska’s winters are particularly hazardous for truck drivers. Nebraska sees an average snowfall of 20 to 40 inches, with the heaviest amount located in the northern panhandle of the state. In the snow, a large and heavy truck could lose control due to icy roads. Even with anti-lock brakes and other safety features, it can be difficult for truck drivers to slow down or come to complete stops on icy surfaces. This is especially true since large trucks have longer stopping distances than standard motor vehicles. Truck drivers must stay alert to changing weather conditions in winter and adjust their driving techniques accordingly.
Wintertime snow, sleet and fog in Nebraska can reduce visibility for truck drivers and make it harder to see other vehicles on the road. Blowing snow can obscure a driver’s vision and cause a loss of vehicle control. In addition, salt and slush can accumulate on a truck’s windshield, further obscuring the driver’s view. Truck drivers should use their windshield wipers and defrosters to keep their windshields clear and reduce the risk of a truck accident.
Snow Removal Equipment
Snow removal equipment such as snow plows and salt spreaders are often encountered in Nebraska winters. Although these vehicles are necessary to help clear the roads of snow and sleet, they can present accident hazards themselves. They may block the roads and create traffic congestion, for example, increasing the risk of accidents such as rear-end collisions. If a truck driver cannot see this equipment clearly, he or she may crash into a snow removal vehicle.
Jackknifing occurs when a truck’s trailer swings out to the side at an angle, causing the truck driver to lose control of the truck. This can happen in winter conditions when the road is slippery or icy, or if the truck driver is forced to make a sudden maneuver. Jackknife accidents are also common when a driver takes a turn too quickly. Truck drivers must be trained to recognize the signs of a potential jackknife incident and take appropriate actions to prevent it.
Overloading a truck’s cargo area can increase the risk of an accident in any weather condition, but it can be especially dangerous in winter. When a truck is carrying too much weight, it is more difficult to control and stop – especially on an icy road. An imbalanced or overly heavy truck may sway, lose traction or tip over. Truck drivers and those responsible for loading cargo must ensure trucks are not overloaded and that cargo is properly secured.
Truck Driver Errors
In addition to dangerous conditions caused by winter weather, other factors can also increase the risk of a truck accident in the winter months. For example, labor shortages in the trucking industry can lead to understaffing at trucking companies. This can result in overworked and fatigued truck drivers, as well as poor training as companies rush to put new drivers on the road. Pressure to meet delivery schedules despite delays caused by weather can also lead to driver fatigue.
Help for Victims of Winter Truck Accidents in Nebraska
If you have been involved in a winter truck accident in Omaha, it is important to seek legal representation as soon as possible. A qualified Omaha truck accident lawyer can help you understand your legal options and fight for the compensation that you deserve after a truck collision. At Knowles Law Firm, we offer free initial case evaluations, where you can speak to an attorney about your recent truck accident at no cost or obligation.