Why Truck Accidents Increase in Winter

two trailer trucks driving opposite directions on a winter road

As the winter season rolls in, it brings with it a host of challenges for drivers on the road. Among those most affected are truck drivers, who navigate their massive vehicles through adverse weather conditions that significantly increase the risk of accidents. The combination of snow, ice, reduced visibility, and other winter-related factors often leads to a surge in truck accidents during these months.

Causes of Winter Truck Accidents

Adverse Weather Conditions 

Winter brings snowstorms, icy roads, sleet, and freezing rain, all of which create hazardous driving conditions. These adverse weather elements reduce tire traction and increase the chances of skidding or sliding, particularly for heavy trucks that require longer stopping distances. Around 3,048 truck accidents in 2020 occurred due to frost or ice on roads. 

Limited Visibility and Trailer Truck Crashes

Winter weather conditions and shorter daylight hours also mean reduced visibility for truck drivers. This impaired visibility can make it challenging to see other vehicles, road signs, or hazards in time to react appropriately, leading to accidents.

Driver Fatigue and Stress Contributes to Truck Accidents

Winter weather often extends travel times for truck drivers. The stress of navigating through challenging conditions combined with longer hours on the road can contribute to driver fatigue, impacting their reaction time and decision-making abilities. Furthermore, increased holiday demand puts pressure on truck drivers to take on extra shipments. In addition to driver burnout, drivers may engage in risky behaviors (like speeding) to accommodate the added shifts. 

Inexperienced or Ill-Prepared Drivers Leads to Truck Accidents

Some truck drivers, especially those newer to winter driving or those from regions less accustomed to severe winter weather, may not be adequately prepared for the unique challenges it presents. Lack of experience in handling wintry road conditions can significantly increase the risk of accidents.

Equipment Failure and Trucking Accidents

Cold weather is hard on motor vehicles, and trucks are no exception. Battery performance decreases, while increased use of systems like heated seats and steering utilize more power than in the warmer months. Fuel economy is poorer, since cold engine’s take longer to reach their optimum performance levels. Tire pressure also decreases in cold weather, which can wear them down more quickly and affect their traction. Truck drivers looking to complete extra deliveries on time may overlook necessary maintenance and repairs, which could lead to accidents.

Increased Traffic and Congestion Increases Risk of Truck Accidents

There is statistically a higher volume of traffic on the road during the holidays. In 2022, AAA estimated 102 million Americans would be driving to their holiday destinations, and that drivers could expect the journey to take up to 25% longer than usual. More cars means greater probability of an accident, including trailer truck collisions. 

Stay Safe on the Road During the Holidays

Reducing the risk of accidents during the winter months requires a combination of preparedness, caution, and adherence to safety protocols. Trucking companies can play a crucial role by providing adequate training to drivers, ensuring vehicles are winter-ready, and promoting safe driving practices. When possible, truck drivers themselves should make informed decisions about when to drive and how many deliveries to accept. 

Furthermore, all drivers sharing the road should exercise patience, maintain safe distances, and adapt their driving behavior to suit weather conditions.

Keep in mind that, while these guidelines can help you avoid a truck accident, they are not foolproof. None of us can force a truck driver to behave responsibly, which means collisions can and will continue to happen. If you or someone you know was injured in a trucking accident, you should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney right away. 

Denver Truck Accident Attorney

Trucking accidents are complicated. The injuries are often much more severe and there is usually more than one liable party. In Colorado, the Roth Group is a top personal injury attorney with a proven track record when it comes to trucking accidents. Our skilled attorneys will hold all responsible parties accountable so you get the settlement you deserve. Call or go online today to schedule a free consultation