Fort Worth, Texas, 23 May 2021, ZEXPRWIRE, Fort Worth, Texas, experienced one of the worst road disasters the community has ever seen on February 15th, 2021. Six people died, and many were taken to surrounding hospitals for treatment after freezing rain covered the roads, causing a 133-car and 18-wheeler pileup on a Fort Worth interstate. Many families of victims and state officials are asking, could this tragedy have been prevented?
Videos released by local news outlets showed vehicles piled up on top of each other. Many cars were crushed, leaving victims trapped inside their vehicles. Some vehicles were stuck under 80,000 pound 18 wheelers. A video that circulated on national news shows a large FedEx truck coming into the pileup at high speed and plowing over cars in its way.
Not prepared for the ice?
While local drivers may not have been prepared to navigate these unusual icy conditions in Texas, professional truck drivers should have known what to expect on the road that day and have been able to practice safe driving.
Unlike everyday drivers, professional truck drivers go through an extensive training process in which they are taught how to manage unfavorable road conditions. Oftentimes, trained truck drivers also have resources beyond weather reports and radio traffic that typical drivers do not, such as radio communication with other truck drivers as well as communication from their dispatchers. All the resources allocated to truck drivers are put in place to avoid incidents, such as the fatal pileup that took place in Fort Worth, Texas.
Knowing about bad weather and poor road conditions is paramount to preventing unnecessary accidents, injuries, and even fatalities. If drivers are aware of the road conditions before heading out, they can change their routes, adjust their speeds, and even pull over to avoid accidents. These practices are for all vehicles, but especially important to be followed by truck drivers who are required to follow safety regulations set up for the industry.
According to the Federal Trucking Safety Regulations, caution when operating a commercial motor vehicle, otherwise known as an 18-wheeler, should be practiced when experiencing dangerous roadways caused by rain, snow, or ice. Operators should practice reduced speed levels if undesirable road conditions exist. If roadways become increasingly dangerous, the operator should find a safe place to pull off the roads until conditions are better and safe travel can be presumed.
These regulations are set in place to protect both truck drivers and the general public. However, these rules were seemingly not practiced by truck drivers during the Fort Worth pileup causing potentially more injuries and more deaths.
Safe driving tips
The American Automobile Association provides this list of tips to keep you safe on the road in bad weather:
- Stay home. Only go out if necessary
- Slow down, you might not have as much traction.
- Accelerate and decelerate slowly, don’t try to accelerate in a hurry, and take extra time as well as distance, to slow down when approaching a stoplight.
- Increase your following distance; this increased distance will allow you more time to stop and decrease your chances of hitting a vehicle in front of you.
- Apply steady pressure on the brake pedal when attempting to slow down
- Don’t stop unless you have to; if you can slow down enough to keep moving forward slowly until a traffic light changes, do it
- Don’t power up hills; this will just cause your wheels to spin. Try to get a little speed before reaching the hill and let it take you to the top; as you reach the top of the hill, slow down and carefully proceed downhill
- Don’t stop going up a hill; it can be dangerous, causing you to slide down.
How to protect yourself
As traffic continues to rise on national highways, including roadways in Texas, the threat of being in an accident with an 18-wheeler or semi-truck rises as well. If you are a victim of an accident involving a truck or other cars, it is important to know how to protect yourself. Due to the large size of commercial trucks, truck accidents often result in life-changing injuries and fatalities. Making a personal injury claim in a trucking collision is different than typical accidents involving two cars. It is important for you to find representation that has expert experience in trucking accidents to guarantee you and those injured are properly protected. McKinney Car Accident Lawyers can represent drivers and passengers involved in car or 18-wheeler collisions.
Media Contacts –
The McCraw Law Group