red truck in snow on the side of the road

Truck AccidentsTruck Accident On Ice

Commercial Trucks avoid ice for your Safety

Large trucks are not supposed to drive on icy roads because it is foreseeable that cars will lose control.

Ice Road Truckers Do Not Encounter CarsCommercial Trucks on Ice will Encounter Cars in Maryland

Episodes of Ice Road Truckers are filled with danger but not with passenger cars. The show has dramatic scenes of truck accidents on ice. Most of the episodes demonstrate that a large heavy truck with 18 wheels can safely stay on an icy road. But what happens when a large commercial truck encounters a car that has lost control on an icy road? The short answer is that large commercial trucks should never encounter cars driving through an ice storm. The Federal Motor Safety Carrier Act defines a preventable accident as one involving a commercial motor vehicle that could have been averted but for an act or a failure to act by the motor carrier or the truck driver. In Maryland, a truck accident on ice, even if that truck was parked is probably a preventable accident.

Commercial truck drivers are trained to be alert for black ice. Black ice forms when temperatures drop rapidly and moisture on the road freezes into a smooth, clear smooth slippery surface. Freezing rain can also result in a thin layer of clear ice forming over a road. Commercial truck drivers are trained to feel the front of their mirrors to feel for ice and look at their antennas for the formation of ice. If ice is forming on their trucks, they are trained to stop and remove their trucks not only from the road but from the side of the road. An illegally parked truck can be nearly as dangerous as a moving truck to a car that has lost control on the ice.

Ice Requires “Extreme Caution.”Commercial Trucks should not Drive on Ice

The federal motor safety carrier act defines hazardous conditions to include ice, sleet, mist and snow that adversely affects visibility or traction. Speed must be reduced when such conditions exist. If the conditions become “sufficiently dangerous” the driver must stop driving until the commercial motor vehicle may be safely operated. If there is packed snow on the road commercial driving manuals instruct drivers to reduce their speed by 50% or more. If the road is covered in ice the driver is trained to reduce the truck’s speed to a crawl and to get off the road as soon as possible.

The Federal Motor Safety Carrier Act was enacted for the safety of the public. Commercial Motor Vehicle drivers are required to exercise extreme caution in icy conditions to protect the public. Some people wonder why Ice Road Truckers can drive on ice, but trucks are not supposed to drive on icy local roads. Trucks and cars sharing ice covered roads is a recipe for fatal crashes. What happens to a car that slides across an icy road in front of an 80,000-pound commercial truck? Often the truck driver lives and everyone in the car dies or is seriously injured. The safety rules are meant to protect the public. In the judgment of the federal government a commercial motor vehicle driver should never place a member of the public in this situation.

If you or a loved one was injured in an ice accident involving a truck please contact Patterson Law at 301-888-HURT for a free consultation. A Board Certified Truck Accident Attorney is available for a free consultation at the Patterson Law Annapolis or Bowie office.

Fact: Truck drivers are supposed to get off the road in icy conditions. This includes not stopping along the side of a highway. Cars sliding off the road and crashing into trucks stopped on the side of the road is foreseeable.

Truck Companies Are Bound By The RulesTruck Companies and their Dispatchers are Responsible

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act applies to motor carriers as well as commercial truck drivers. Modern truck companies efficiently schedule routes and direct drivers. The motor carrier should not knowingly direct a driver through an ice storm or instruct the driver to continue driving through an ice storm. The motor carrier also needs to permit the driver time to complete a route consistent with driving conditions. Decisions by a motor carrier can place the public at significant risk. An 80,000 commercial truck poses an unreasonable danger to cars encountering icy conditions. A truck accident on ice is an unreasonable and likely occurrence even if the truck driver can keep his truck under control and its lane of travel.

The trucking industry offers JIT (Just in Time) routes. These routes often require a trucking company to use two drivers. One driver sleeps in the sleeper while the other driver drives. The second driver is needed to comply with the maximum safe driving time limits. JIT routes impose significant pressure on drivers and may result in poor decision particularly when unexpected ice storms are encountered. A JIT route through a winter storm risks a truck accident on ice.

George Patterson

Board Certified Truck Accident Attorney

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If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident or suffered a serious personal injury due to someone else’s negligence please contact the best personal injury lawyers at Patterson Law. George Patterson has been featured in an article published in the Best Lawyers in America. The “best” injury lawyers may be reached at their Annapolis or Bowie offices at 301-888-4878.

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