Karns & Kerrison Blog

Truck Accidents - Liability Due to Weather

Posted by Robert T. Karns | Jun 19, 2014 | 0 Comments

Truck accidents due to poor weather conditions can place liability on the truck driver and trucking company for their failure to pay attention to poor weather conditions.

Poor weather conditions can make operating a huge tractor trailer truck extremely hazardous. Truck drivers are required by law to use extra caution in poor weather conditions.

Every winter people are seriously injured or killed by large tractor trailer trucks who refuse to pull their tractor trailers off the road or even slow down below the posted speed limit during bad weather causing truck accidents.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) require truck drivers and trucking companies to legally conform to poor weather conditions including the following:

  • Using extreme caution in the operation of a commercial motor vehicle during hazardous conditions such as those caused by snow, ice, sleet, fog, mist, rain, dust, or smoke adversely affecting visibility or traction. Speed should be reduced when these conditions exist.
  • Commercial vehicle drivers must also comply with the laws, ordinances and regulations of the jurisdiction in which they are operating their vehicle.
  • Match speed to the road surface condition, traction must be maintained between the tires and the road. Conditions that reduce traction call for lower speed as on slippery surfaces it is harder to turn without skidding and it will take longer to stop.
  • Drive slowly on slippery roads, if it is very slippery you should not drive at all and stop at the first safe place.
  • All states have a Commercial Drivers License Manual, in order to drive a large tractor trailer a driver must have a Commercial Drivers License and the CDL Manual has rules on operating tractor trailers in adverse weather conditions.

Wind is a powerful force that can cause snow whiteouts, brown outs due to dust and driving rain. Wind can also catch the high parts of the trailer on the tractor trailer causing the truck driver to lose control. When driving in windy conditions the truck driver must slow down or if too severe must stop.

Examples of poor weather conditions are as follows:

  • Rain
  • Fog
  • Snow
  • Sleet
  • High Winds
  • Heat
  • Dust

Trucking companies and truck drivers are responsible to know the weather, pay attention to weather reports and to slow down or stop in severe weather.

Large tractor trailer trucks that lose control in poor weather conditions cause serious or fatal injuries to the occupants of the much smaller passenger vehicles.

About the Author

Robert T. Karns

Founding Attorney


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