Semi-trucks can cause absolute devastation when a crash occurs. They can demolish smaller vehicles and cause catastrophic injuries to the occupants of those smaller vehicles. Technically, a crash involving a semi-truck could occur anytime throughout the year, but the winter may present more opportunities for semi-truck collisions.
West Virginia sees its fair share of blustery weather in the coldest months of the year. Sleet, snow and freezing rain could all create very unsafe road conditions. Unfortunately, despite having extra training, those operating commercial vehicles could have a much more difficult time safely reaching their destination during times of inclement winter weather.
Semi-trucks are harder to control
The main reason that commercial drivers need a special license is that semi-trucks and other large vehicles are harder to safely operate than passenger vehicles. They can also cause much more substantial damage because of their overall size.
Additional training and stricter rules can help reduce the possibility of a semi-truck colliding with passenger vehicles. However, such crashes can still occur when the road conditions are less than favorable, especially if the driver or their employer cuts corners when inspecting and maintaining the truck.
Winter weather is particularly dangerous for semi-trucks. The impact that snow and ice have on driving safety serves to amplify the existing limitations of semi-trucks. For example, semi-trucks already have a substantially longer stopping distance than smaller passenger vehicles, and empty trucks may actually be harder to stop than those with full trailers.
When there is ice, snow or snow melt on the streets, vehicles may have a harder time maintaining traction. The slick road conditions only increase a truck’s already extended stopping distance. Additionally, the issues with traction can increase the possibility that a semi-truck might jackknife or possibly roll over when going around a curve or completing a turn.
Work pressure also prevents semi-truck drivers from being as safe as possible. The safest and smartest response to winter weather is to slow down. Unfortunately, commercial drivers often feel as though doing so is not an option because they are still subject to restrictions on how long they drive and strict deadlines maintained by their employers.
Understanding that semi-trucks can be even more dangerous during the winter months can help those who regularly travel on snowy West Virginia roads to make informed choices when navigating around these massive vehicles.