Across Ohio, winter weather puts road users at risk well after the holidays are over. January, February and even March can bring icy and snowy conditions to Ohio roads. Drivers of trucks with heavy cargo loads or other large vehicles can be in even greater danger during inclement weather.
Drivers who are unprepared for this peril may be liable for an accident which occurs on an icy or snowy road, as motorists are expected to tailor their speed and caution to existing road conditions. Those injured in an Ohio truck accident may have grounds to seek damages for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and other losses. These cases tend to be more complex than the average crash case because of extensive damages and the fact that there are often numerous defendants.
Professional Truck Drivers Offer Winter Driving Tips
The Tidewater News spoke to professional truck drivers about how to safely navigate winter weather. Safety starts before the vehicle ever enters the roadway. Drivers should be sure to remove all snow and ice from their vehicle before travelling. Failure to do so can create additional blind spots. It can also make it harder for other vehicles to see the vehicle and anticipate its movements.
These professionals further urged drivers to remain cognizant of the temperature and weather around them while they are driving. When the air temperature is around 34 degrees Fahrenheit, drivers should begin watching for ice and snow along their routes. Many vehicles now come equipped with ice warnings that activate when a low temperature is registered. Heed these warnings and watch carefully.
In many cases, it is possible for a driver to avoid ice-related accidents entirely by giving themselves enough time to change lanes or use a shoulder. When it is not possible to avoid ice, drivers should carefully ease off the accelerator without making any sudden movements. Hold the wheel as steady as possible. In many cases, drivers can keep their vehicles steady long enough to pass the patch of ice and return to traction on the roadway.
One of the most important preventative measures a driver can take is to simply slow down. Not only does speeding dramatically increase the severity of injuries which are sustained in a car accident, but it also makes it far more difficult to safely regain control of a vehicle which has skidded on ice.
Ohio law requires drivers to travel at a safe speed for the conditions
Aside from these practical considerations, slowing down is also a legal requirement under Ohio law. Section 4511.21 of the Ohio Revised Code prohibits drivers from operating a vehicle at a speed that is greater than reasonable and proper in regard to the current conditions. As a result, drivers who fail to slow down when snow or ice makes it reasonable to do so are in violation of the statute.
Insurance companies and juries can use such a violation to determine that the driver was negligent and therefore liable for a car accident that occurred because of his or her speed.
There are many ways to reduce the likelihood of a winter car accident in Ohio. But when accidents do occur, an Ohio truck accident attorney can help injury victims file claims, access compensation, and protect their legal rights.