There are more than 5,891,000 vehicle crashes every year and about 21% of those crashes are weather-related according to data from the U.S. Department of Transportation. 70% of weather-related crashes involve wet pavement and 46% happen during rainfall.
Because tractor-trailers are large and more difficult to maneuver, slow and stop, wet road conditions particularly increase the risk of trucking accidents.
Reasons wet roads increase the crash danger
Standing water from rain and flooding can cause obstructions that force cars and trucks to change lanes. Weather events can also cause issues with traffic signal timing. Heavy rain may also impair visibility, reduce traction and increase stopping time. Additionally, rain is sometimes accompanied by high winds which can cause trucks to jackknife or rollover.
Weather regulations for truckers
Federal law requires commercial truck drivers to adhere to safety standards during hazardous weather conditions. Drivers must practice defensive driving and pull off the road if the weather becomes too hazardous to safely travel. They must also reduce their speed to prevent hydroplaning or jackknifing. Truckers must use headlights to make their vehicles easier to see and increase visibility. Additionally, drivers must leave enough room between their trucks and the vehicles in front of them to account for increased stopping time on wet pavement.
All drivers should practice safe driving techniques during inclement weather. However, because of the increased potential for severe injuries, truck drivers must exercise an even higher level of caution when driving in the rain or on wet roads. Drivers who cause accidents due to their negligence may be liable for injuries to others.