In Illinois, harsh winters with snow and ice create hazardous driving conditions for truckers. Icy roads contribute to many accidents between large trucks and passenger cars. Truck accident lawyers commonly see serious injuries and fatalities caused by weather-related trucking accidents during the winter season.
Trucking Accidents Caused by Hazardous Conditions
Snow, ice, sleet, hail, and whiteout conditions are common conditions that occur during winter storms in Illinois. All of these weather conditions can create slippery road surfaces and a greater risk of accidents. If rainfall hits roads and freeways during freezing temperatures, invisible patches of ice can form. Because of their size, weight and center of gravity, large trucks and semi-trucks are especially vulnerable to trucking accidents during treacherous road conditions. Longer braking times and stability issues make it extremely difficult to keep large trucks under control if they start to slide or skid in snow and ice. Illinois truck accident lawyers often see serious injuries and fatalities caused by common types of winter truck accidents that include:
- Head-on Collisions
- Rear-end Collisions
- Broadside Collisions
- Under-ride and Over-ride Accidents
- Jackknife Accidents
Another hazardous driving condition that motorists don’t consider is the large surface area atop a typical semi-trailer truck that can carry a significant amount of snow or ice. If that snow or ice dislodges during travel, it becomes a dangerous projectile for nearby passenger cars. Over the last few years, trucking accident lawyers have seen several cases where snow or ice dislodged and crashed down on cars causing shattered windshields, collapsed roofs and severe injuries. Currently, there are no laws on the books in Illinois that require truckers or other motorists to clear snow or ice from their vehicles before traveling on roadways.
To date, there are no federal laws that require trucker drivers to remove snow and ice from the top of their trucks before traveling, except in New Jersey, where such a law was passed in 2009. Under current federal motor carrier safety regulations, truck drivers are prohibited from climbing on top of their trucks without proper safety equipment, which is usually only available at the terminal. According to recent studies done by the American Transportation Research Institute, 54 percent of truckers rarely or never remove snow and ice from their rigs, so dislodging snow and ice continues to create potential accidents and injuries.