Winter is right around the corner and with it means snow and ice, causing auto accidents left and right. According to NHTSA, Pennsylvania was ranked as the second most dangerous state for winter driving. Coupled with the fact that PA highways are major trucking routes, it can be a scary season for many drivers.
Why are Trucks Dangerous in the Winter?
In a snowstorm, slabs of ice are formed on the roofs of parked trailers. Unless the ice is removed by the trucking company or the driver, the slabs of ice fall from the tractor trailers onto the highways and other vehicles, creating significant danger on our highways. While falling ice has been a known hazard for decades, trucking companies have paid scant attention to the risk it poses.
97% of the trucking industry consists of companies with fewer than 20 trucks and can’t afford costly snow-removal systems, which can run tens of thousands of dollars. Some larger companies do have devices at their terminals that truckers can drive through that push off ice and snow, and those who own their own tractor trailers can use brushes or scrapers designed to clear off their trailer roofs, but they’re not always effective.
Pennsylvania State Sen. Lisa Boscola has spent years trying to expand the current law to require drivers to clear accumulated ice and snow, and establish fines for violators, including tractor trailers. Under the current law, a driver can only face a fine or penalty when projectile snow or ice from a vehicle results in the death or “serious bodily injury” of another driver.
Winter Driving Safety Tips:
It is important to keep your distance to avoid serious accidents and injuries from large trucks. Never speed or tailgate and make sure your own vehicle is winter ready:
- Ensure the wipers and lights are all working and your tires have tread.
- Top off the washer fluid and fuel tank.
- The brakes and windows should be completely clean.
- The defroster and heater should both be operating correctly.
- Post-storm, all ice and snow need to be cleaned off.
- Have kitty litter or sand on-hand to help with traction or frozen tires.
- If possible, do not drive if road conditions are hazardous.
And always be aware of the truck drivers in your path. Give large trucks a very wide berth. If, however, you were involved in a trucking accident, remember that one of the most important steps is to seek representation from a qualified, personal injury lawyer familiar with all the nuances of the law when a truck accident occurs in our state. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, contact us today.