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IL truck accident lawyerThere is no denying that the Midwest has some of the most extreme weather, from hot and humid summers to bitter cold winters with a rainy season in between. Illinois winters have a reputation for exhibiting some of the worst conditions. Snow and ice can wreak havoc on traffic and cause serious problems for motorists. Truck drivers need to be extra cautious due to the size and volume of their vehicles. It is a proven fact that it takes longer for a truck to come to a complete stop than a car. In blizzard-like conditions, a truck accident can result in serious to severe injuries for the truck driver as well as the occupants of a car after a collision.

Safety Measures for All Drivers

When the seasons change, Illinois motorists need to change their driving habits. Regardless if you are operating a semi-truck or a compact car, precipitation of any kind warrants slowing down and taking other measures. Here are a few safety precautions to keep in mind when traveling in hazardous weather on the highway:

  • Stay calm: If you feel yourself panicking behind the wheel, try to relax and take deep breaths to calm yourself down.
  • Slow down: Drive only as fast as your abilities and the capabilities of the vehicle permit for the road conditions.
  • Control your actions: Your behavior on the roadway needs to be controlled and deliberate. Maintain a consistent speed, create more space between you and the car ahead in case that vehicle stops unexpectedly. Do not slam on the brakes, and steer gently.
  • Turn on your headlights: Make sure to turn on your headlights even during the daytime if the weather is bad so other motorists can see you better.
  • Use your turn signals: Do not make lane changes without alerting other drivers of your upcoming movements by signaling first. When getting off at an exit, for example, put on your turn signal before you start slowing down.
  • Be aware of tire spray: Be aware of water spraying from a truck’s tires. A significant amount of spray means the roads are wet. If the pavement appears wet, but there is not a lot of spray, the precipitation is turning to ice. If the road looks wet but there is minimal to no spray, that could mean black ice.
  • Watch other drivers: Pay attention to what the truck drivers are doing and if they are slowing down, you should too. This will help avoid a pileup in the event you have to brake suddenly.
  • Do not stop: If visibility is poor, do not stop in the middle of the road because you will be hit from behind since the driver behind you cannot see either. Proceed along slowly until you can safely move your car off to the shoulder. Wait out the storm until you can see clearly ahead of you.

Even when the above safety tips are followed, accidents involving a truck can and still do happen. In some cases, another driver may have been distracted or intoxicated, which led to the crash. It is important to contact an experienced attorney to determine who is at fault in order to seek compensation for damages.

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Il truck crashDriving a large truck, such as a semi-truck, is a different experience than driving a small passenger vehicle. The drivers of a semi-truck are often hauling around thousands of pounds of cargo and traveling long distances. The truck drivers may also have to deal with any manner of mechanical failures on the truck, which is increased by the number of miles the trucks are driving. Accidents do happen, whether they be passenger vehicles or large trucks, and injuries or fatalities from large truck accidents are likely. The cause of large truck crashes was studied by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), and some common causes were identified.

What Are the Causes?

The FMCSA was looking to determine why large trucks were involved in serious crashes. The total sample of the study was 963 crashes involving 1,123 large trucks and 959 vehicles that were not trucks. Out of those crashes, there were 249 fatalities and 1,654 injuries. 77 percent of the trucks included were single semi-trailer trucks and 5 percent were hauling hazardous materials. Crashes involving at least one other vehicle occurred in 73 percent of the crashes sampled.

The FMCSA study used two main definitions in their data. The critical event is the “action or event that put the vehicle or vehicles on a course that made the collision unavoidable” and the critical reason is the reason for that critical event. The critical events in the data the FMCSA observed were as follows:

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IL truck crash lawyerMany drivers do not like driving near semi-trailer trucks and other large trucks. The sheer size of the vehicles make normal passenger vehicles feel minuscule in comparison, so it is understandable that many people would be nervous around them. The weight of a semi-trailer or large truck is much more than an average passenger vehicle as well. Weight affects a vehicle’s behavior in a number of ways, including less maneuverability, greater stopping time and distance, and more impact if something is struck by the truck. These factors all combine to make their involvement in automobile accidents something to be wary of when you are a driver because they can cause serious injury or death. Drivers can follow some simple best practices when around semi-trucks or other large vehicles to lessen the likelihood of involvement in a collision.

Keep Calm

Often when passenger vehicles drive around large trucks, they get frustrated about how long it takes trucks to accelerate and brake. It is important to keep in mind that large vehicles are not going to be able to accelerate or brake as fast as your vehicle when they can weigh 20-30 times what your vehicle does.

Wide Turns Will Happen

When driving around large trucks, keep in mind that they need to take a wider turn than your vehicle. The length of their vehicle does not allow them to make sharp turns, so they need to compensate for that length by swinging around, sometimes in other lanes. Watching out for any large trucks or buses that are swinging wide to turn will prevent an accidental collision.

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IL injury lawyerAny car crash is a complicated event - it can be difficult to determine the cause of any accident and contributing factors to any crash. When it comes to crashes involving trucks, the consequences can be dire. Because of the large size of these vehicles, truck accidents are deadly and survivors can experience more severe injuries than accidents involving other vehicles. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has conducted a study in an effort to determine the causes of serious crashes involving large trucks, which are defined as any truck with a gross weight of over 10,000 pounds.

Crash Causation Variables

In the study, three key variables were used to determine what caused truck crashes: critical events, critical reasons, and associated factors.

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