Why are Truck Accidents More Common During the Summer?July 29, 2020
The period from Memorial Day to Labor Day is known as the 100 Deadliest Days of Summer because there is a notable spike in car accidents. Unfortunately, this is also true for truck accidents, which can cause devastating injuries and fatalities. Although truck driver negligence is the cause of many of these accidents, passenger vehicle negligence and other environmental factors are also to blame. Truck drivers and other motorists have a responsibility to understand the risks associated with driving during the summer, and to take the appropriate precautions when sharing the road.
What are Causes of Summer Truck Accidents?
Although many people think that the winter months are particularly hazardous for driving, hot weather can increase the risk of serious truck accidents for the following reasons:
- Construction projects: Most road work is typically done during the warmer months. This presents a range of problems for truck drivers. If there are lane closures, it is more difficult to maneuver a large commercial truck compared to a smaller passenger vehicle. In addition, if the signage alerting motorists that there is road work ahead is placed too close to the construction site, the truck driver may not have enough road space to slow down or come to a complete stop in time to avoid a collision. If construction causes road closures, it can be difficult for a truck driver to navigate a large truck through local traffic.
- Improperly loaded cargo: With the increase in construction projects, commercial trucks are responsible for transporting various materials to the site. If heavy materials are not properly loaded in the truck, and the material shifts or falls off the truck, it can cause rollover or jackknife accidents. If the truck is carrying a wide load, the truck driver will have a difficult time seeing other motorists, which can increase the risk of a serious truck accident.
- Tire blowouts: Mid-May to early October is tire blowout season, according to Popular Mechanics The warm weather causes the air inside the tire to expand, which can cause a tire blowout. When this happens, the truck driver can lose control of the vehicle, causing it to swerve into other lanes of traffic. If there are other vehicles nearby, serious accidents can occur. Tire blowouts are more frequent during the summer for the following reasons:
- Higher temperatures
- Overloading cargo
- Long trips
- Worn tires
- Distracted driving: Federal regulations prohibit truck drivers from talking or texting on their phones while driving, but drivers do not always follow this rule. In addition to phone calls and texts, other common distractions include eating, changing the radio station, reaching for an object, checking a map, and daydreaming. One moment of distraction can have devastating consequences if the truck driver hits a passenger vehicle.
- Drowsy driving: This is a common problem among truck drivers, even though there are hours-of-service regulations that prevent drivers from being on duty for too many hours. Unfortunately, many truck drivers work around these regulations so that they can meet their tight deadlines. During the summer months, the days are longer, so drivers often take advantage of the extended daylight hours and continue driving, even if they are fatigued. Drowsy driving can be as dangerous as drunk driving, particularly when the person is driving a massive 80,000-pound truck.
- Increased traffic: With school out for the summer and people taking family vacations, there is more traffic during the summer months compared to the rest of the year. Statistically speaking, the more cars and trucks there are on the road, the greater the chances that there will be an accident. In addition, there are more inexperienced teen drivers on the road. Young drivers are more easily distracted by their phones and other passengers in the vehicle. In addition, they do not have experience navigating busy highways with commercial trucks that have much larger blind spots than the average car.
What Safety Precautions Should Truck Drivers Take During the Summer?
With the number of cars and trucks on the road during the summer, it is imperative that truck drivers ensure that their vehicles are properly maintained, particularly during the summer months. Truck drivers should take the following steps to prepare their vehicles for summer driving:
- Perform general maintenance: Once the cold weather has passed, truck drivers are responsible for making sure that all systems and components of the truck are checked, and that any necessary adjustment or repairs are made by a professional mechanic.
- Check tire pressure and tire condition: The risk of tire blowouts increases during the summer months, so truck drivers must check the air pressure on all tires as the weather warms up. If any tires are worn or balding, those tires should be replaced.
- Check the battery: The hot weather can cause a truck’s battery to fail. Truck drivers are responsible for checking their battery’s charge on a regular basis and ensuring that it is properly connected.
- Check the air conditioner: A properly functioning air conditioner is crucial when driving a truck during the summer months. Drivers should run the system at the beginning of the warm weather season and check for any leaks or cracks in the connected tubing. All faulty parts should be replaced or repaired as soon as possible.
- Check coolant levels and hoses: Drivers must check coolant levels and make sure that there is no damage to the hoses. If the coolant is not properly circulating, the truck can overheat. All broken or damaged parts must be replaced before getting back on the road.
- Store an emergency kit: Truck drivers should keep an emergency kit in the cab in case the truck breaks down, or if other hazards such as inclement weather or traffic accidents prevent them from being able to reach their destination.
- Stay hydrated: This is particularly important during the summer months. Prolonged exposure to the hot sun can cause drivers to become dehydrated quickly. If drivers do not replenish these fluids on a regular basis, they can become severely dehydrated, which can impact their ability to safely operate a large truck. Drivers should keep a water bottle nearby and hydrate regularly.
- Check mirrors and seat position: Truck drivers must make sure that all mirrors are in the proper position so that they can see other vehicles in their vicinity. Trucks have large blind spots, so it is important to adjust the mirrors to see vehicles approach their blind spots. These are also helpful when changing lanes.
- Use caution in work zones. Truck drivers must be extremely cautious when approaching a work zone. Reduced speed limits and lane closures are common in work zones, so truck drivers must adjust their driving accordingly and use extra caution.
What are Common Truck Accident Injuries?
Injuries resulting from truck accidents tend to be particularly severe because of the size and weight of the average commercial truck compared to a passenger vehicle. If the occupants of a passenger vehicle were lucky enough to survive a truck accident, it is likely that they suffered serious injuries. Examples of common truck accident injuries include the following:
- Broken bones
- Chemical exposure if the truck was carrying hazardous materials
- Dismemberment or amputation
- Organ damage
- Significant disfigurement
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Other injuries that impact the victim’s qualify of life
How can Motorists Avoid Being in a Truck Accident?
When sharing the road with large trucks, one wrong move or a moment of distraction can have devastating consequences. To avoid being in a life-threatening truck accident during the summer months, motorists are urged to keep the following safety tips in mind:
- Give trucks enough space. To avoid getting wedged underneath a truck’s trailer or getting rear-ended by a large truck, drivers need to give trucks plenty of space. This can help avoid accidents caused by falling cargo or other collisions that occurred because the truck driver did not see the passenger vehicle in the truck’s blind spot. Trucks also make very wide turns, so it is important to wait for the truck to complete its turn before attempting to pass.
- Pull over to a safe spot. Too many truck accidents occur because a passenger vehicle was parked on the side of the road and the truck driver did not see the car. Drivers should pull over as far away from the road as possible or find a safe, well-lit parking lot. If parked on the side of the road, the hazard lights should be used to alert other trucks and cars.
- Stay alert. Drivers need to keep their attention on the road ahead at all times and pay attention to other vehicles in the vicinity, including large trucks.
Baltimore Truck Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Seek Justice for Victims of Devastating Truck Accidents
If you or someone you know was seriously injured in a truck accident during the summer months, do not hesitate to contact the Baltimore truck accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. We will determine who is responsible for causing the accident and ensure that you receive the maximum financial compensation you deserve for your injuries. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
Our offices are conveniently located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Prince George’s County, where we represent victims throughout Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Southern Maryland and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Parkville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.