Inclement weather conditions in Texas are often problematic for drivers of large commercial trucks. Visibility is compromised by thick fog and heavy rain. Truck stability is threatened by high winds. Wet road surfaces and rare bouts of snow cause skidding and loss of vehicle control.
Weather conditions, however, can only be blamed for Texas truck crashes to a small extent. When conditions are far from safe, speed is usually the culprit.
Driving too fast for conditions is a leading cause in truck crashes
According to a 2007 report by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) — dubbed The Large Truck Crash Causation Study — driving too fast for conditions is one the leading causes of truck crashes.
That's what happened on a recent Friday morning on Highway 84 in Lubbock County, according to CNN. What started as a crash involving two cars turned into a near-fatal catastrophe.
As police were investigating the two-car crash, a semi-truck suddenly jackknifed, flipped over, and slid on its side. As the truck continued to slide, ground debris was projected into the air and a police vehicle was crushed by the trailer. Officers on the scene scrambled to escape the imminent catastrophe.
A Texas trooper was struck in the incident and a driver was trapped inside the pickup truck. Both were treated at a nearby hospital for non-life-threatening injuries. The truck driver was cited for driving at an unsafe speed.
Several other vehicles crashed into the semi-truck. The incident involved five crashes, involving four semi-trucks and four passenger vehicles. Poor visibility due to thick fog was considered a factor in the crash.
The incident was captured on video. You can barely see the semi-truck as it approached the original crash scene. The truck driver attempted to swerve onto the median to avoid striking a car in the roadway. A moment before the trailer jackknifed, the driver appeared to struggle to maintain control of the truck.
Why reducing speed is so critical
According to the FMCSA, truck crashes like this can be prevented during inclement weather conditions. When conditions aren't dry or clear, the federal agency urges truckers to slow down to a speed that is reasonable and prudent for conditions.
The speed limit on Highway 84 in Texas is 70 mph. Depending on the severity of the conditions, truckers should consider cutting their speed down by one-third. While Texas rarely receives snow or ice, truck drivers should drive no faster than half the speed limit.
For more than 20 years the Texas attorneys at Chad Jones Law have investigated 18-wheeler crashes caused by drivers traveling at unsafe speeds. Whether your crash happened in Waco, College Station, Midland, or Odessa, our legal team can meet with you and help you weigh your legal options.
Our consultations are free of cost. If you were hurt in a crash, contact us online to find out how we can help you.