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Truckers must adjust driving behaviors in winter to avoid crashes

Every driver in Illinois knows that winter can be a particularly stressful time to be behind the wheel. The roads are often icy, wet and obscured by heavy snowfall or blowing snow. Despite these unavoidable hazards, there are still too many drivers who fail to appropriately adjust their driving behaviors to avoid winter crashes.

Unfortunately, some of these drivers are behind the wheel of 80,000-pound commercial trucks. When truckers fail to take adequate precautions to prevent an accident on dangerous roads, the consequences can be tragic.

Like all drivers, truckers need to be aware of how their vehicle will respond in certain situations. Commercial vehicles in particular are huge and powerful, which means that even the slightest oversight in driving or maintaining a truck can be magnified when it combines with icy roads or snow. 

For instance, it will take much more space for truck to come to a stop when it is on ice. This means that if a trucker is following another vehicle too closely or is not focused on the road, he or she may be unable to stop in time to avoid a collision.

Trucks can tip over if they enter an icy curve too fast and cannot slow down. Jackknifing is also a serious concern in winter. A tractor trailer can jackknife if a trucker tries to stop too abruptly or the vehicle slips on an icy surface; if this happens, the other vehicles near the truck can get hit or be unable to avoid crashing into it.

Truckers should know how to adjust their driving in winter. However, knowing how to drive safely does not mean that a driver will actually drive safely. If the reckless or negligent operation of a commercial vehicle has resulted in a truck accident, victims must remember that they have the right to speak with an attorney and explore their options to pursue compensation for damages. 

Source: Transervice White Paper, "Winter Driving Tips for Commercial Truck Drivers," accessed on Jan. 6, 2015

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