Truck drivers must always be vigilant about safe driving. As the seasons change, so do safety issues. During fall, certain safety topics should be reviewed. Hazards in fall can lead to serious truck accidents if motorists are not prepared for the weather transition.
As the days become shorter in autumn, more drivers will be on the roadways. Glare from the sun makes it difficult to see the brake lights of other vehicles, pedestrians, and obstacles in the road. The presence of water or ice on the road magnifies sun glare. Truck drivers should have sunglasses at hand to avoid sun glare and be aware that other drivers are dealing with the hazard as well.
With fewer daylight hours, truckers will spend more time driving in darkness. Now is a good time to inspect headlights to ensure they are in good condition and fully operational. Keeping mirrors and window glass clean and free of debris reduces glare. Night driving is more dangerous, so all motorists should leave plenty of following distance and check mirrors frequently.
In many areas, fall weather can be highly unpredictable. Cooler temperatures can bring morning and evening fog. Frost can also be an issue at higher elevations and when the temperature drops dramatically.
Truck drivers travel the whole country and must be prepared for the sudden changes in autumn weather. When roadways are wet, slower speeds and longer stopping distances are required. Special caution should be used when approaching overpasses and bridges as they frost over before the rest of the roads. As part of routine maintenance, fog lights should be checked along with tire pressure and treads.
Deer are most active in fall during mating season. Drivers need to be especially alert during dawn and dusk when animals may try to cross the road. When entering an area marked with deer crossing signs, keep an eye out for any deer. The presence of one animal indicates that more are probably around as deer travel in herds. Truck drivers should drive at speeds that are safe in case of emergencies, such as crossing deer. It is important to not swerve if a deer approaches the roadway. A motorist should try to brake while maintaining control and avoiding the animal. Staying as straight as possible is important because swerving could put the truck into oncoming traffic or can cause the truck to tip over.
As the trees lose their leaves in autumn, drivers must be aware of the hazards they cause on the roads. The rain causes some leaves to fall off, which can lead to slick surfaces. Heavy semi-trucks can hydroplane in slippery, wet conditions.
Dry leaves also reduce tire traction as there is less contact with the surface of the road. They can also cover hazards, like bumps and potholes, on the roads and obscure road markings. When encountering leaves on the road, it is best to slow down because some leaves may be wet or slick. A truck driver should avoid sudden braking or swerving, and never park a truck over a pile of leaves. In very dry conditions, an exhaust system can ignite the leaves.
Fall is when school resumes, and children are more common on the roadways as they commute to and from school. They may be on foot or on bikes and can behave unpredictably, sometimes veering out into the road without warning. As the days get shorter, they will be less visible and may not always be wearing bright colored clothing. A truck driver should always check blind spots carefully, and use mirrors and backup cameras to check for pedestrians and bicyclists.
Trucking companies and truck drivers have responsibilities to maintain their vehicles to high safety standards. Federal laws require that trucks be systematically inspected, repaired, and maintained so that parts and accessories are in safe, proper condition at all times. Records must be kept for each truck that shows the truck identification, date, type of inspection, repair, and maintenance operation. It is also required that tests be conducted on emergency doors and windows.
At the end of each driving day, truck drivers must complete post-trip inspections and written reports of any defects or deficiencies that could affect the safety of the vehicles.
All truck drivers must be fit to drive and perform their job duties. This is why the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) requires that truck drivers pass medical exams. A truck driver must be able to stop, turn, and maneuver a heavy semi-truck. The FMSCA also regulates the amount of time a driver may spend on the road before they must take a break to rest.
Since trucks are large, truck accidents involving passenger vehicles and bystanders cause much more damage than regular car accidents. Safety in trucking is paramount, and the autumn season is a good time to review safety tips.
Trucking companies, manufacturers, and truckers can all be liable for accidents. Since many parties may be involved, truck accident cases are complex. After a truck accident, a victim should speak to a lawyer about their options. A lawyer will be able to determine if a victim can collect compensation.
If you were hurt in a truck accident that was caused by a negligent truck driver, contact our Wilmington truck accident lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. Our skilled team will fight tirelessly to get you compensation for your injuries so that you can concentrate on your recovery. For a free consultation, call us at 302-656-5445 or contact us online. Located in Wilmington and Millsboro, Delaware, we serve clients throughout Dover, New Castle County, and Sussex County.