Texas is home to thousands of miles of interstates, state highways, and other major roadways where icy or other dangerous road conditions exist during winter months. Oftentimes, Texas’ well-known reputation for having hot summers and mild winters leads drivers to have a false sense of security during the winter months. This leads to an increase in catastrophic 18-wheeler accidents due to freezing temperatures that often occur overnight, creating black ice or other dangerous road conditions. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, the leading month for fatal crashes and fatalities in 2019 was December.
The Texas Department of Transportation often releases driving tips to remind and encourage safe travel while on Texas roads during the winter months. Some of these tips are:
- Driving slower as speed limits are based on normal road and weather conditions, not winter road conditions.
- Turn cruise control off.
- Maintain your tires.
- Maintain at least three times the normal following distance on snow or ice.
- Use your headlights.
- Allow extra time to reach destinations or delay travel until conditions improve.
- Stay tuned to local news and weather alerts.
- Use extra caution on bridges, ramps, overpasses, and shaded areas as they tend to freeze first.
- If your vehicle starts to slide, ease off the gas pedal or brakes. Steer into the direction of the skid until you have regained traction, then straighten your vehicle.
Common Causes of 18-Wheeler Accidents During Icy Road Conditions
Unfortunately, fatal accidents involving commercial vehicles continue to rise, despite readily available information on how to minimize the risks of traveling in icy road conditions. Some of the more common causes of these catastrophic accidents are:
- Icy conditions: Accidents that occur due to snow or black ice often involve multiple vehicles and significant injuries.
- Mechanical problems: brake failure, lighting and system failure, engine failure, and blowouts or other tire failures.
- Poor judgment: In many instances, newer truck drivers, or drivers that never received proper training, make poor driving choices that are costly in winter conditions.
- Overworked, tired drivers: There are many laws in place that promote safe driving for commercial vehicle operators. Unfortunately, many of these laws are not obeyed as truckers work long hours to keep up with unreasonable demands by driving long hours during the day or at night. The failure to obey these laws only makes matters worse during wintry road conditions.
- Unbalanced, overweight, or unsecured loads: Every truck is assigned by its manufacturer a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR), which is the maximum weight that the truck is allowed to haul. Notwithstanding these weight restrictions, many companies and truckers choose to exceed their capacity and place others at an even greater risk of harm during wintry road conditions.
What Kind of Damages Am I Entitled To If I Was Injured In An 18-Wheeler Accident?
The damages that arise due to an 18-wheeler accident are often not known until months (or years) after the incident. These catastrophic accidents often affect more than just the person who was physically injured. Texas law allows accident victims (including family members to fatal accidents) to recover not only their direct expenses but compensation for the physical and emotional effects of the crash as well. In many cases, this can result in substantial financial recovery.
When you hire us to represent you, we will help you seek compensation for:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income and earning capacity
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life and impairments to your family relationships
- Other physical, financial, and emotional harm
What Should I Do If I Was Seriously Injured In An 18-Wheeler Accident?
The fact that an accident may have occurred due to icy road conditions does not mean you do not have a valid claim for your injuries. Because 18-wheeler accidents can have a lasting impact on you or a loved one, you need proper legal representation to assess and assert your rights for the damages you sustain. If you or a loved one was severely or fatally injured due to an accident involving an 18-wheeler or other commercial vehicle, the 18-wheeler accident attorneys at Morrow & Sheppard LLP could help to guide you through the process to receive maximum compensation for your loss. To discuss your legal rights, call 800-489-2216 or fill out our contact form online today.