Alabama Trucking Accident Risks Heightened By Bad Weather

A serious accident involving two 18-wheelers on I-459 in Hoover is under investigation by local authorities.Our Birmingham personal injury attorneys were amazed to learn that no one was hurt in the crash, though we weren’t surprised to learn that yet another trucking accident had occurred on the highway.

Although it’s not yet clear whether the weather was a factor in this crash, we do know that it occurred just two days after a huge swath of Northern Alabama was under a winter weather advisory from the National Weather Service, with a mix of rain, sleet and snow causing particularly treacherous conditions on elevated roadways and bridges.

This is relatively common this time of year in our state. Although the southern half of the state is noted for its more tropical climate, Huntsville, Birmingham, Montgomery and Mobile have been known to drop several degrees below freezing, and in some cases can see a foot or more of snow, according to to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

All of this is compounded by the fact that winter brings shorter days and longer nights. Given that the majority of crashes occur after dark, this combination can be deadly.

Truckers can’t be held responsible for the weather, obviously, but they can be held liable for a negligent reaction to it. They are (or should be) trained to know when road conditions or poor visibility requires them to slow down or even pull over. There are also industry-wide federal guidelines with regard to how much weight these vehicles can safely haul and how long of a stretch drivers can safely go before a dangerous level of fatigue begins to set in.

And yet, we continue to see serious crashes resulting from actions and behaviors that are entirely preventable.

It then becomes incumbent upon motorists who share the road with these large vehicles to take safety into their own hands. While you should always drive defensively and without distractions, this is doubly important in the midst of inclement weather and at night.

As you grab your keys and head out the door, keep these safety tips in mind:

  • Slow down and leave plenty of room between you and the vehicle in front of you.
  • Brake gently to avoid skidding. If you find your wheels locking up, ease off the brake.
  • Make sure your lights are on.
  • Keep your windshield and lights clean.
  • Use your high beams whenever possible – just remember to dim them for oncoming traffic.
  • If the road is icy, refrain from putting the car in overdrive or cruise control.
  • Look away from headlights coming in your direction, as they can temporarily blind you.
  • Use extra caution on bridges, overpasses or roads less traveled. These will be the first to freeze.
  • Don’t pass snow plows or sanding trucks.
  • If you suspect your vehicle may not be able to handle the road, stay home. Same goes if you think you might be too tired to drive.

Call Alabama personal injury law firm Allred & Allred P.C. at 334.396.9200.

Additional Resources:
Interstate 459 lanes reopen after 18-wheeler wreck, Feb. 4, 2013, By Mike D. Smith, The Birmingham News
More Blog Entries:
Report: Alabama Car Accident Prevention Laws Need Improvement, Jan. 27, 2013, Birmingham Personal Injury Lawyer Blog

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