Apr 5 2010

Chains on Semi-Trucks – When They Should Be Used

Driving a semi-truck in snowy weather is risky business, and even experienced drivers know they need every advantage they can get.  Snow chains on the tires can be such an advantage, as they provide that added traction that is missing in inclement weather.

As with cars, the size of chains you use will depend upon the size of tires that are on your truck.  Your parts store where you purchase your chains can assist you in your selection.  However, once you have them and know how to put them on, when should you use them?

State Requirements

Did you know that some states have requirements for using chains during certain weather conditions or when the truck is over a certain weight?  Those chains offer more traction which is necessary for slippery roads and for hills and mountains as well.  Often these requirements cover certain highways that are considered steep grade; check with each state’s individual requirements on their own websites to be sure of these areas.

You may even notice warning signs on the highways stating that you’re entering a chain required area; don’t ignore these warnings as they’re for your protection as much as anything else.

Other Times to Use Chains

Snowy weather is the obvious answer of when to use tire chains.  However, if some states require the use of chains on steep grades, wouldn’t that be reason enough to consider using them on other hilly areas even if they’re not legally required?  This can keep you safe and give you added control over your rig.

During snow emergencies you should also consider adding chains even if you’re on level roads.  That added traction will mean more ability to stop quickly, and this is imperative in order to avoid a pileup which is all too common when a semi-truck is involved.

There are times when you don’t want to put on chains; this may include those roads that are wet from rain and being slick.  Those chains typically don’t help on roads that are simply slippery due to being weight and may just do damage to the highway more than anything. This article is not intended to provide legal advice.

Contact Gordon & Elias, LLP for truck accident legal advice in the Fresno area.

Feb 26 2010

Truck Accidents and Unsafe Lane Changes

Each day many different vehicles share roads all over the world. The vehicles range from small cars and motorcycles to large semi-trucks. Tragically, there are many accidents involving trucks that cause serious injuries including death. One of the leading causes of truck accidents is unsafe lane changes.

Drivers of all vehicles types have become increasingly aggressive. Road rage is now a common term that most people not only understand, but have witnessed or experienced. They’ve seen the angry driver who weaves in and out of lanes, aggressively trying to get ahead of all the other vehicles on the road. When two cars that are relatively the same size collide it can cause serious and fatal accidents. When one of the vehicles is a truck it is almost certain that there will be a fatality.

Sometimes a collision between a truck and a smaller vehicle is caused by the driver of the smaller vehicle. There are some car drivers who do not give a truck driver enough room when they change a lane. They don’t understand or appreciate that a truck traveling at a high rate of speed is not able to stop as quickly as a car driver. These drivers dart in front of trucks when they see a little space. If the traffic continues to move they may be okay. But if the traffic in front suddenly slows or stop, the truck behind them may be too close to them to avoid hitting the car.

Car and motorcycle drivers have to respect the truck and be sure they only move in front of a fast-moving truck when they can do so safely. This means waiting until there is enough room and distance before moving over. They also must realize that truck drivers have a limited sight so that they cannot assume the truck driver sees them when they are behind them or moving up on the side. They need to stay out of the truck driver’s blind side.

Truck drivers also cause accidents when they make unsafe lane changes. While they may not weave in and out as often, there are drivers who abruptly move into a lane in an unsafe manner. Some do this because they have not had proper training or the drivers are inexperienced.

But some truck drivers change lanes aggressively, to intimidate another driver. They may have been cut off and they want to get back at the driver. They may be trying to make up lost time, and are changing lanes so they can drive faster. While car and motorcycle drivers are able to stop faster than trucks, it may not be enough to avoid an accident.

Truck drivers are required to get additional training and a special license to drive a truck. Many states in the U.S. also have extra rules that apply only to truck drivers, including laws that pertain to unsafe lane changes. These laws include following too closely and passing on the right. All drivers must understand the potential for fatal accidents when they make unsafe and aggressive lane changes.

This article should not be construed as legal advice or counsel.

Related Legal Tools: If you would like additional information about truck regulations and common truck-related negligence visit TruckAccidentLaw.org

Aug 28 2009

Some Tips for Avoiding Truck Accidents

There are some simple rules you can follow to reduce the risk of a collision with a large truck:
• Be aware of the “blind-spots” of large trucks, they cannot see you if you cannot see them in their side-view mirrors
• Large trucks need more room to make right-hand turns, don’t try to pass them by turning right inside the area they leave to make their larger turns
• Multiple trailer trucks have additional connection points which leaves them more unstable, be aware of the potential for jackknifing, overturning and lane encroachment
• Large trucks have a higher center of gravity which means that sharp turns and steep hills are more dangerous because of their decreased maneuverability

Being aware of how different a large truck handles compared to the vehicles that we are used to driving every day can help you to avoid a collision with a large truck.

This article is for informational purposes and does not constitute legal advice. Please contact an attorney in your local area for more information about truck accidents.