Poor Weather Conditions Increase the Likelihood of a Wichita Falls Semi-Truck Accident
Texas is known for its sunny weather. That’s why people like to live here. The summers are sunny, and the winters usually aren’t too bad. Likewise, Oklahoma enjoys pretty good weather.
Unfortunately, different weather conditions can have a significant impact on driving conditions. Storms, fog, rain, sleet, and snow all impact a driver’s visibility and their ability to drive with the care they need to. Additionally, poor weather conditions can have a negative effect on both the road conditions and the vehicle’s performance causing motorists to lose control and get into accidents.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, approximately 21% of all accidents across the U.S. are weather-related accidents with more than 5,000 people being killed and over 400,000 being injured each year.
The majority of weather-related accidents occurred when it was rainy outside or had rained and the pavement was wet. Because rain is more common around Texas and Oklahoma than snow, sleet, and ice, people tend to not be as cautious when faced with these types of weather conditions. Rain causes oil that is deep in the pavement to rise to the surface causing the roads to be slicker than usual. Although the rain may have passed, these roads are still affects for a period of time after the rain has stopped. But because the rain is gone, most people go back to driving normal not considering the extra slipperiness that they will face on the roads, which often leads to accidents causing unnecessary injuries to people and in the worst cases, loss of life.
Large trucks out on the road deserve and demand extra caution and care as they can be difficult to control even in the best driving conditions. Add poor weather conditions in the mix and you have greatly increased the risk of a truck wreck. Weather-related truck accidents in Wichita Falls cause destructive accidents that often involve very serious, life-altering injuries.
If you or someone you know has been injured in a semi-truck accident, you could be entitled to compensation. Our legal team at Booker Law stands by ready to assist you in getting you the money you deserve after a truck accident.
Call us today at 940-569-400 or fill out our contact form to set up a free, confidential, no-obligation consultation. Poor weather conditions are not an excuse to avoid liability, and we are here to hold those who are responsible for your accident accountable.
Adverse Weather Conditions & Truck Accident in Wichita Falls
Adverse weather conditions increase the risk of all motor vehicle accidents in general, especially large trucks. The types of weather conditions that cause this increased risk include:
- Storms and high winds – Many trucks stand very tall with the bottom of the vehicle being substantially high off the ground, and with this increased height comes the vulnerability of being blown over. Strong winds can push the semi-truck or tractor trailer over or cause it to jackknife.
- Rain and mist – Rain often causes trucks to hydroplane, even light rain such as mist. High rains also reduce the driver’s visibility. This is detrimental to truck drivers because they often need a good distance in order to adequately stop their large trucks on time and without this visibility, this stopping ability is in jeopardy.
- Snow, sleet, and ice – When roads are covered with any amount of snow, sleet, or ice, it seriously reduces traction between the road and the tires of the trucks. And the weight of these large trucks can make it near impossible to stop on these conditions. Once the truck starts to slide, it can be extremely difficult to regain control.
- Fog – Fog is dangerous because it negatively impacts the driver’s ability to see. These large trucks cannot stop instantly because they have so much weight to them, so they need adequate distance between other vehicles, so they have the appropriate amount of time to stop. Driving in foggy conditions threatens the driver’s ability to see and maintain a safe distance.
Although poor weather conditions are not necessarily conducive to safe driving, it is still the truck driver’s responsibility to judge these conditions and adjust to them as necessary so weather-related truck accidents can be avoided, or at least minimized.
Federal Regulations & a Wichita Falls Truck Driver’s Responsibility When Driving in Poor Weather Conditions
As mentioned above, large trucks deserve and demand respect out on the road. The drivers of these large trucks must exercise a duty of care and operate these vehicles safely, otherwise, they are putting everyone on the roads in danger. Because of this, there have been federal trucking regulations put in place to make truck drivers responsible for operating their trucks in a safe manner. According to these regulations, the truck driver is responsible for determining when to stop driving due to dangerous or hazardous conditions, so the responsibility or these accidents ultimately lies with the truck driver.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSR) Section 329.14 portrays that truck drivers have the following responsibilities:
- Reduce speed when poor weather conditions negatively affect the road and/or the driver’s visibility
- Drive defensively when driving in poor weather conditions
- Use sound judgement to decide when to stop driving in poor weather conditions
- Ensure there are safe distances between the truck and other vehicles around them to allow for sufficient stopping distances when in poor weather conditions
- Use lights to increase visibility and to allow fellow drivers to better see the truck’s location when in poor weather conditions
When truck drivers do not abide by these safe driving procedures during poor weather conditions, they could be held liable for damages caused by the truck accident.
Causes of Weather-Related Truck Wrecks in Wichita Falls and Throughout Texas & Oklahoma
There are other factors on top of adverse weather conditions that can contribute to a truck wreck in Wichita Falls and throughout Texas and Oklahoma.
Some factors in which the truck driver contributes include the following:
- Drowsy driving
Additionally, truck companies’ negligence can contribute to Wichita Falls truck accidents by failing to provide proper maintenance and inspections on the truck as well as failing to provide adequate and sufficient training for their truck drivers.
While truck drivers and trucking companies cannot control weather conditions, they have a responsibility to take all necessary measures to reduce the risk of truck accidents during adverse weather conditions.
Who Is Responsible for Damages in a Weather-Related Truck Accident in Wichita Falls?
Our truck accident law firm in Wichita Falls, Texas conducts thorough investigations of the causes of truck crashes to determine all factors contributing to the cause of the crash. Poor weather conditions is not an excuse, and does not dismiss the truck driver or the trucking company from liability.
If there was negligence involved on the part of either the truck driver or the trucking company, they could be held responsible for damages, including:
- Medical treatment and care (past and future)
- Lost income and benefits (past and future)
- Disability, impairment, scarring, and/or disfigurement
- Loss of quality of life
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Pain and suffering (physical injuries, mental anguish, emotional distress)
- Wrongful death benefits (for surviving family)
Weather-related truck accidents often cause catastrophic injuries, leading to permanent impairment, disabilities, paralysis, and sometimes death. All types of injuries arise from weather-related truck accidents in Wichita Falls such as broken bones, sprains, amputations, injuries to internal organs, cuts and lacerations, neck, back, and spinal cord injuries, and traumatic brain injuries.
Insurance companies often use poor weather conditions as a scapegoat in an attempt to deflect any liability from themselves and their insured for Wichita Falls truck accident claims. Do not allow the insurance adjuster to persuade and convince you that you don’t deserve compensation because the weather is to blame for the truck accident. Instead, get help from an experienced and trusted Wichita Falls truck accident lawyer.
Contact our Wichita Falls Truck Accident Lawyer for a Free Consultation
A truck accident can throw your life into disarray. You and your family may be faced with life-altering impairments and mounting medical bills due to a truck driver’s negligence. If this is the case for you, we want to help. Contact Booker Law at 940-569-4000 or fill out our contact form to set up a free, confidential, no-obligation consultation.