Driving in Michigan’s rain and snow is challenging, especially near large semi-trucks. In inclement weather, visibility diminishes, and roads get slippery, making it vital for drivers to exercise extra caution.

Moving safely around these massive vehicles requires knowing the limitations snow, rain, and ice can have on maneuverability and stopping distances for both you and their drivers. This can help you anticipate large trucks’ movements and take precautions like driving slower or keeping more space between you and the semi.

If you were involved in a semi-truck crash, our truck accident attorneys at Fieger Law can help protect your rights and help you negotiate a fair settlement with the trucking company or driver.

Understanding the Physics of Heavy Commercial Trucks in Adverse Weather

Semi-trucks, which can weigh up to 80,000 pounds when loaded, operate differently from standard passenger vehicles, especially under adverse weather conditions.

  • Reduced traction: When roads are wet or icy, the traction between the tires and the road surface decreases. This reduction in grip makes it more likely for trucks to skid, especially during sudden maneuvers or hard braking.
  • Extended stopping distances: Due to their weight, commercial trucks already need more distance to stop than lighter vehicles. When road surfaces are slick, this stopping distance increases, requiring drivers to anticipate stops much earlier.
  • Limited visibility: Heavy rain and snowfall can severely limit a truck driver’s view. Considering semi-trucks already have blind spots on all four sides of the vehicle, this reduction in visibility makes it harder to spot potential hazards, other vehicles, or changes in traffic conditions.
  • Shifted weight distribution: Accumulated snow or ice on a truck can change its weight distribution. This uneven weight can affect the truck’s balance, potentially leading to rollovers or other stability issues.
  • Decreased tire pressure: Cold temperatures often result in reduced tire pressure. Lower tire pressure can affect the truck’s handling and fuel efficiency and increase the risk of tire blowouts.
  • Increased potential for jackknifing: When roads are slippery, there’s a heightened risk for the truck’s trailer to swing out of alignment with the cab, resulting in a dangerous jackknife situation.
  • Challenges in turning: Making turns can become treacherous in wet or icy conditions. The trailer may slide or swing wide, posing risks to adjacent lanes or roadside objects.
  • Wind impact: Wet or icy conditions often come with strong winds. These winds can push against the broad sides of commercial trucks, making it harder to maintain a straight line or steady speed and increasing the risk of tipping over in extreme gusts.

If you’ve been injured in a truck accident in rain, snow, or other adverse conditions in Michigan, contact Fieger Law. Our Michigan auto accident lawyers can review your case and advise you on whether the truck driver’s failure to adjust their driving for the weather may make them liable for your injuries.

Tips for Driving Near Semi-Trucks in Bad Weather

When the weather turns challenging, especially in Michigan’s climate, drivers must use caution. Here are some helpful tips for driving near semi-trucks during inclement weather:

  • Maintain a safe distance. Give semi-trucks ample space, aiming for a minimum of 3-4 car lengths between you and them. This not only provides a safety cushion but also reduces the impact of spray on your vehicle.
  • Avoid blind spots. Blind spots are especially large in semi-trucks. Remember, if you can’t see the truck’s side mirrors, the driver probably can’t see you. Maneuver your vehicle to ensure you’re visible to the truck driver and not lurking in their blind spot.
  • Be visible. Especially in conditions of reduced visibility, make sure your vehicle stands out. Turn your headlights on, but avoid using high beams, which can cause glare and further decrease visibility in heavy precipitation or fog.
  • Anticipate wide turns. Semi-trucks require more space to navigate turns, particularly in slippery conditions. Give them room to maneuver to prevent side-swipes or roll-over collisions.
  • Pass with caution. If it becomes necessary to overtake a semi-truck, ensure you do it quickly and safely. Don’t linger alongside a truck, especially during bad weather, and always pass on the left to minimize blind spot risks, as the blind spot is larger on the right side of the vehicle.
  • Prepare for spray. The spray from a truck’s tires can momentarily reduce your visibility. Ensure your windshield wipers are in good working condition and consider installing winter wipers to help remove heavy slush and rain.
  • Stay calm on skids. If your vehicle starts to skid on ice or snow, stay composed. Steer in the desired direction of travel and avoid abrupt braking.

Protect Your Rights After a Semi-Truck Crash

Navigating claims against large trucking companies can be complex. Our attorneys at Fieger Law have significant experience winning large settlements for truck accident victims.

We can help protect your rights against big trucking corporations, helping you get the full settlement you deserve. Contact an attorney today from Fieger Law to start your trucking accident claim and learn how to get compensation for your injuries.