Williams, Walsh & O'Connor, LLC

Fall road conditions could be a perfect storm for truck crashes

No one gets onto the road hoping to get into a serious crash. Most drivers take precautions to reduce risks, including adapting driving behaviors that take the weather into account. Unfortunately, not everyone stops to think about the potential impact of changing weather conditions on the road. The fall can be a dangerous time to drive, particularly when you're driving in close proximity to the ever-increasing number of commercial trucks.

Truck drivers operate massive, heavy, unwieldy vehicles. That's why they have to have special schooling and are subject to far more regulation than the average person driving a passenger vehicle. They can also cause catastrophic injuries to people in smaller vehicles.

When you add factors like wet patches, fog and even slippery fallen leaves into the mix, there is potential for a range of serious crashes. Avoiding driving directly next to or behind commercial trucks may limit your risk, but sometimes you can't control where you get stuck in traffic.

Wet leaves or pavement can make stopping and turning difficult

Whether the issue is fresh rain, which has resulted in puddles, or fallen leaves accumulating on streets, fall weather can increase the potential for losing control of a vehicle. When the vehicle in question already has issues with stopping quickly and turning, it's easy to see how the danger increases with these road conditions.

The best way to handle these challenges is to slow down on the road. That's easy enough for people commuting to work or taking their kids to school. For those who are driving for twelve straight hours and have a deadline for delivery, slowing down may not seem like an option. Doing so could result in a loss of an on-time bonus or even in not getting paid for a load if its contents (like beer or milk) have spoiled in transit.

Always follow best practices when sharing the road with trucks

As mentioned before, the best way to share the road with big commercial trucks is to avoid driving in their blind spots, directly in front of them where you could get rear-ended or directly behind them where you could end up crashing into their tailgate. If you're driving at a time of day when there are a large number of trucks on the road, you might want to consider taking local routes instead of faster-moving highways and interstates.

If you have to take the highway, stick to the right lane. Since trucks generally can't or won't slow down for inclement weather, you should give yourself extra time to get where you're going. If you're traveling at a safer speed, other vehicles can pass you if need be. You can also feel confident that you'll retain control of your vehicle and be able to stop or turn quickly if necessary.

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