Most important winter driving tip for truckers: slow down

Just an hour northwest of Joplin, you can find the town of Parsons, Kansas. It was recently the scene of a truck accident that began when the driver of an 18-wheeler lost control of his vehicle, which jackknifed and crossed the road’s centerline, slamming into an oncoming pickup truck head-on.

The 88-year-old driver of the pickup was killed; a photo of the accident showed the front half of his vehicle crushed. A spokesperson for the Highway Patrol said wet road conditions were a factor in the crash.

Indeed, a shining sheen was on the road in the photo of the two vehicles in the aftermath of the crash.

The 24-year-old trucker was injured in the violent collision and taken to a nearby medical facility.

One of the things most of us who live in the Joplin area understand is that at this time of year, you can encounter a wide variety of weather conditions that can include rain, freezing rain, snow and sunshine. Our weather changes both quickly and frequently.

Fortunately, these days truck drivers have at their disposal reliable sources of information about weather. They can easily check conditions and changes online, on their radios and on TV.

In fact, a trucking service website urges truck drivers to do that very thing before they begin that day’s driving. Also, the site notes that “the best strategy for winter driving is caution.” It advises drivers “to compensate for slippery surfaces, reduce the speed to a third of the posted one.”

No load on an 80,000-pound big rig is worth another person’s life or worth causing serious injuries to an innocent motorist.

Unfortunately, that lesson is sometimes learned after a preventable accident. In some of those cases, truck drivers and trucking companies can be held financially responsible for damages by a court and an experienced personal injury attorney.



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