Driving during the winter months in the Maryland and Washington D.C. areas comes with added risks of severe auto accidents, and those hazards are compounded when a commercial motor vehicle is involved such as a large bus or rig. The average personal car weighs two tons, but the average commercial truck is 40 tons or heavier. Truck accidents are far more likely to cause catastrophic injuries or wrongful death, but there are precautions you can take to avoid a crash with a big rig, and this is especially important during times of severe weather conditions.
1. Blind Spots or “No Zones.”
Every vehicle has a blind spot, but trucks have a narrower path of vision. Some commercial trucks have warning signs on the back and sides of the semi that warn you about blind spots. Make sure you leave room to pass the truck or bus carefully, and that the driver can see you. A general rule is that if you can see the driver in their side mirror, they can most likely see you too. Remember to leave plenty of room in front of you when you’re behind a truck and plenty of space behind you after you pass.
You do not want to “cut off” the truck driver and chance an accident. Additionally, they may retaliate for poor driving etiquette. Don’t get boxed in between large trucks either. The more space you leave the truck drivers, and the more cautious you are could mean the difference between a life-threatening accident and making it safely to your destination.
Leave extra space for vehicles with turn signals on as well. Large trucks and busses need more space to maneuver through narrow streets and take wide turns, which should also be noted on the sides of the vehicles.
2. Winter Weather Conditions.
When bad weather or rapidly changing weather conditions are involved, you need to adjust your driving habits and leave double the average distance between your vehicle and other drivers on the road. You’ll need more time to stop and may have limited visibility. Our winters in Maryland, Virginia, and DC can be unforgiving with frigid temperatures and icy roads, which lengthens your daily commute and the average speed of vehicles on our roadways.
The time of day is also an important factor in the high number of fatalities caused by truck accidents each year. Many truckers have shifts that require them to drive through the night. Drivers may be drowsy and less responsive to changing road conditions and traffic. You’ll need to allow for extra space between your car and the truck or bus because of limited visibility in darkness as well as fog at dusk.
3. Side-Lined Commercial Trucks.
There are a variety of reasons commercial trucks have to pull off onto the side of the highway which is why they carry their own traffic cones to give you plenty of warning day or night. These vehicles and cones are harder to identify in bad rain or snow storms. Be on alert for trucks who have tire blow-outs and other malfunctions.
Consult a Truck Accident Attorney in Maryland
If you were seriously injured or lost a loved one in a truck accident, please contact our car accident attorneys in Maryland today at (301) 854-9000 for a FREE consultation. Portner and Shure serve clients in surrounding areas of Virginia and DC and offer multi-lingual services.