Truck Accident Archives - The Law Office of WT Johnson Blog
The cargo carried by the truck, if it spills or escapes or otherwise runs amuck, can wreak havoc on the highways and cause multiple accidents, injuries, and headaches for those driving on the road. Read the rest »
Every driver understands the trepidation when a large tractor-trailer pulls alongside him or her on the highway. The massive size and poor maneuverability of these vehicles can easily create a sense of unease, and smart drivers do their best to maintain a safe distance on the road.
As a result, cases involving large truck wrecks differ from ordinary car accident cases. Texas attorneys with experience handling 18-wheeler truck accident claims understand these differences and use them to the advantage of their clients. Read the rest »
Currently, truck drivers are required to take a 34-hour “restart period” at the end of each work week. During the restart period, they may not drive or be on duty, and they are expected to get needed sleep.
This study recruits approximately 250 truck drivers in order to examine their restart period habits, fatigue levels, and safety performance on the road. Researchers plan to examine drivers’ rates of crashes, near-crashes, fatigue and alertness, and other measures of short-term health over a period of five months. Read the rest »
As Winter begins to gear up in North Texas, an icy danger is brewing to the Northwest. This weekend, Dallas is expected to be glazed with a quarter inch of ice and, as we all know, Texans aren’t the best drivers in the Winter. It seems that when a North Texan sees any hint of white falling from the sky, they are stricken with panic and completely forget how to operate a motor vehicle. Driving in the snow and ice is dangerous enough, but driving on an ice rink that’s full of wary, hesitant drivers is very dangerous. Accidents from icy weather are very common; prevent an accident these next few months by following these tips for safe winter driving, preparation, and emergency response. Are you prepared for travel in snowy, icy situations?
Preparation before Driving
Before you even set out on your travels, it is important to weigh the risks of driving itself. Is it really necessary to get in your car and pick up some milk from the grocery store? Can you go another day without it? Like any other decision, the risks need to be compared to the reward for the most beneficial outcome. If it can wait, I’d advise just staying in the warmth of your home and not risking your well-being for a loaf of bread or a cup of coffee.
Alright so you’ve weighed your options and it is absolutely necessary for you to leave the house into the winter wonderland of your community. First things first, is your car ready for these kinds of elements? Various car preparations need to be kept in mind before venturing out into the snow and ice:
Cold weather starts require a fully charged battery. Make sure your battery has been tested and is running at full capacity. If it isn’t fully charged you may need to replace the alternator or voltage regulator.
The amount of traction you have on a slippery roadway could be the difference between gently gliding through a turn with precision, or losing control and fish-tailing into a lamppost! Make sure your tires are properly inflated and have an adequate amount of traction on the treads. For extreme ice and snowfall, use tire chains; but remember if you have to put chains on your tires, put them on all four of your wheels for balance of traction.
In winter snow and foggy conditions, your lights are more important for others to see you than for you to see ahead of your vehicle. So make sure you’re seen with fully functioning lights. On top of their beacon-like use, having fully functioning lights may also prevent the police from giving you an easily avoided citation. Headlight casing and lenses also tend to get grimy and fogged up, so make sure to keep them clean. Dirty headlight lenses can cut the light output up to 90%!
Living in Texas, we don’t see too many below freezing days in a row. That being said, the health of your radiator probably isn’t something that keeps you up at night. But, with this weekend ahead of us, you never know when those sequential cold days will come. Your radiator needs to be prepared as well! Use a combination of anti-freeze and water in your radiator to prevent the contents from freezing. Science fact: water expands when it freezes, if expanding ice is in your radiator it may cause cracking and eventual leaks when it melts back to liquid form. Anti-freeze lowers the freezing temperature, so your radiator will stay healthy and happy.
Safe Driving Techniques
Alright, so you’ve checked your car and you’re ready to hit the road. Before many set out on the snowy open road, they like to warm up the interior and engine of the vehicle before setting out. An important (and obvious) tip to keep in mind is to not warm up the car in a closed garage. Carbon monoxide can build up in the enclosed space and cause carbon monoxide poisoning.
Before setting out, visibility is very important. Unlike normal rain storms, snow on your windshield will add another level of obstruction to your view. Before setting out, make sure to scrape your windshield with a non-abrasive scraper to clear your view of frost and ice. If you took the time to heat up your car, the warmth of your windshield from inside the car will help keep the ice from taking over your field of vision.
Now that you’re on the road, and you can see and be seen, there are certain driving techniques that need to be used to ensure a safe roadway presence. Being vigilant is very most important when driving on ice. You never know when you’ll hit an unexpected patch of hidden or “black” ice that will require a necessary, prompt reaction. If you start sliding unexpectedly, always turn into the direction you are sliding to align your front wheels with the direction of the slide. If you are sliding to the right turn your wheel to the right; this method applies to left slides as well. Remain calm in these situations, you could potentially prevent serious injury or structural damage to your vehicle. Also, it is smart to keep your car in lower gears for slower acceleration as to limit skidding and ultimately loss of control.
When driving up a hill it is absolutely key to keep moving. Never stop on a hill that is covered in ice. If you lose momentum going up a hill and you’re still on an incline, there is no worse feeling than feeling your vehicle slide backwards uncontrollably into oncoming traffic behind you.
Say you’re driving in the snow and you live off of the beaten path. Your only route home may be a dirt or gravel road. These types of roadway surfaces have a higher chance of getting your vehicle stuck. If your car is stuck in the snow, don’t panic and floor it. If you floor it, the tread of your tires will only dig you deeper into trouble. Try turning your steering wheel from side to side to clear away excess snow from underneath the front tires. If that doesn’t work, use a snow shovel to clear away excess snow from under your car and spread kitty litter or sand around the tires to create a surface for traction. With these tips, you’ll free your car in no time!
Driving in the snow is very risky, but sometimes it’s necessary to venture into the icy streets. If you or a loved one is hurt in a car accident, please contact a Dallas wreck attorney at W.T. Johnson for any and all legal consultation.
Accidents can occur when we least expect them. There are many factors that directly correlate to the severity of a car crash, but there are even more potential causes of a wreck. Arming yourself with the knowledge of various car accident causes will hopefully make you a more mindful driver in the future. Wrecks can happen to anyone, even movie stars who can been seen driving at breakneck speeds on the silver screen. Paul Walker, of Fast and the Furious fame met his untimely demise earlier this week due to a fiery, high-speed car crash. In his case, all the signs point to speed being the main factor for his vehicle’s loss of control. Paul Walker was the passenger in a Porsche Carrera GT, one of only a handful made, when Roger Rodas lost control of the vehicle. Walker and Rodas both were caring gentlemen, who had a passion for philanthropy. Their deaths have occurred too soon, but looking forward, maybe this news can serve as a reminder to stay safe out on the roads. Look out for these common car crash causes, and drive safely out there!
1. Vehicle Speed
When you think of a crash that’s attributed to vehicle speed, I’d imagine most would think of high speed racing, but there exists a big risk of wrecking if drivers travel below marked speed limits as well. However, the severity of a crash is usually higher when the speeds are higher. A bit of physics comes into play when judging the severity of a car crash. The top speed of the vehicle isn’t the determining factor of the severity, but the change of speed has everything to do with the car and its occupants’ physical reactions. For example, if your vehicle loses control on the highway and you come in contact with another car that is traveling the same direction as you, then (given you both don’t collide with a guardrail or wall) you two stuck together and eventually slowly slide to a halt. In this case the severity of the crash is low due to the slow, gradual decline of speed following the collision. On the other hand, if your vehicle is traveling down the road, you lose control, and you hit an immovable object like a telephone pole or a brick wall, the effects of the wreck will be more severe. The abrupt stopping will have more dramatic effects on the human body and structure of a vehicle. Studies show that 18% of all fatal car crashes were a direct effect of speeding.
As we all know, drinking and driving is a horrible combination. Alcohol-related and alcohol-caused accidents are two different things. An alcohol-related accident involves anyone, be it passenger, driver, pedestrian, or cyclist, who has a measurable Blood Alcohol Content (or BAC). This mean that a crash that involves a completely sober driver who hits a drunk pedestrian is categorized by the United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (or NHTSA) as an alcohol-related accident. Alcohol-caused accidents mean the driver of the car that made the impact is under the influence of alcohol. In the state of Texas the legal BAC of a 21-year-old or older driver is too inebriated to drive if their BAC is .08 or higher. Texas is a “zero tolerance” state as well; this means that if any driver under the legal drinking age is pulled over and is proven to have any alcohol in their system, they will get an alcohol-related citation. Alcohol-related accidents cause thousands of fatalities a year, please drink responsibly.
3. Physical Complication
If you take a look at your driver’s license for the state of Texas you may or may not have an indicator saying that you are visually impaired without corrective lenses or contacts. I personally am near-sighted and would be posing a huge risk if I were to drive without my glasses on. If one is pulled over without their glasses and has the license requirement, a ticket may be issued. Visual impairment isn’t the only way one can be physically complicating their own safety; disabilities also make it hard for a person to operate a vehicle. Different mechanisms can be installed to make a vehicle usable for people with disabilities, but depending on severity, one may be at greater risk of crashing.
As you may notice, insurance rates for young, new drivers are commonly higher than an older, more established motorists. The reason behind this isn’t an age bias, but drivers in their late-teens and early twenties are the most prone to accidents and fatal wrecks out of all other age groups. Data shows that females in this age group are less likely to be involved in a fatal accident, but their rates are still higher than the other age groups. This data has been held true even before the onslaught of smart phones in the hands of drivers; younger drivers have historically driven more recklessly than any other age group. 15 years is now the lowest age of a driver you’ll find on the road with a learner’s permit of course, but for an amount of time the lowest age a driver was 14. No states currently allow 14-year-olds to drive anymore!
5. Sleep Deprivation
It’s been said that driving while drowsy is as dangerous as driving drunk. There is no test to determine if a driver is too sleepy to drive; but drivers should exercise caution and determine themselves if they are too drowsy to operate a motor vehicle. To some it may be shocking, but drivers aged between 18-29 are most likely to get in a wreck due to fatigue. The key to halting these statistics is to know yourself and your limitations when driving, and knowing if you’re at risk of falling asleep at the wheel. Each year it is estimated that 100,000 crashes are caused by sleepy driving, so protect yourself and others by getting some rest! Some sleepy crashers have even been sentenced to jail time for their tired driving.
There are countless factors that can cause a car accident; some other examples of causes are distracted driving, drug use, car design, and road design. Here at W.T. Johnson we know that car accidents can be a big headache, so if you’re injured in a wreck please contact us for all of you legal proceedings!
If you would like to discuss your claim with a member of our team, don’t hesitate to call us at (214) 231-0544. We’re ready to help you, and won’t rest until you receive the settlement you deserve.