The holidays bring hustle and bustle to all our lives, and holiday shopping seems to top everyone’s to-do list. Whether you shop online or at the mall, all that merchandise has to come from somewhere. It’s not a fleet of reindeer that brings the goods—it’s a gigantic fleet of over-the-road trucks. The holidays bring more truck traffic, and that means more truck accidents. Even though the holidays put the rush on you, take it easy out there, especially alongside trucks.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates truck drivers by imposing important safety rules regarding:
- Hours of service
- Truck maintenance
- Rules of the road
- Driver conduct
- Driver impairment
- Transportation of hazardous material
- Cargo loading
While the FMCSA’s regulations are broad and impose harsh fines and penalties, the holidays place extra time constraints on everyone, including truckers. Employers push truckers to deliver ever more cargo. Long hours of driving can lead to exhaustion, which is a dangerous form of impaired driving. Accidents can ensue
At the holidays, truck drivers can be pushed beyond the limits of safe driving. If you or someone you care about was injured in a truck accident, you need an experienced Houston truck accident lawyer. The legal team at Stewart J. Guss, Attorney at Law, is here to help.
Truckers and Exhaustion
Big rigs are just that—big. In fact, they are many times larger than other vehicles on the road, and that makes them extremely dangerous. The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) finds that drowsy drivers are twice as likely as well-rested drivers to make driving errors at critical moments that can lead to tragic accidents. When these drivers are manning 18-wheelers, the stakes are even higher. Furthermore, a driver doesn’t have to be falling asleep to drive drowsy, and driving while drowsy impairs driver functioning in important ways:
Drowsy driving is dangerous driving, and hectic holiday driving schedules can lead to exhausted truckers. When you take to the road, proceed with caution.
Telltale Signs of Exhausted Driving
Pay close attention to other drivers on the road—and this goes double for truckers. If you see someone driving erratically, distance yourself from that vehicle, and remember that tractor-trailers need even more distance. Know the signs of drowsy driving, and protect yourself by steering clear of any drivers who:
- Erratically change speeds
- Swerve in and out of driving lanes
- Excessively speed
- Overcorrect for driving errors
- Make multiple driving corrections
- Slowly veer or drift in and out of driving lanes
- Lose control of semis
Safety on the road should always be your primary concern, but take special precautions around the holidays. Know that the trucker behind the wheel may have pushed himself past the point of safe driving. If you see a truck moving dangerously through traffic, contact the authorities. You could help save a life.
Trucking Through the Holidays
Trucking companies have a lot of cargo to move during the holidays, and they sometimes cut corners that can lead to dangerous accidents. When the holiday season hits, big rigs are often fully loaded with a lot of miles to cover. Trucking companies themselves bear responsibility for:
- Hiring experienced professional drivers or adequately training new drivers
- Ensuring that their drivers don’t have overly ambitious schedules and that their drivers adhere to driving-time and rest constraints
- Ensuring that cargo is properly secured
- Inspecting rigs for safety and performing regular maintenance
- Ensuring that truckers don’t drive in unsafe weather conditions
Trucking companies are harried by the holiday bustle—when their rigs are often most in demand—but they also share responsibility for keeping the roads safe for everyone.
Every truck accident is traumatizing, but a traffic accident during the holidays can be especially painful. If you or someone you care about was injured in a Texas truck accident, you are no doubt overwhelmed, but you can take steps to protect both your rights and your personal injury claim.
First, seek immediate medical attention, and then obtain an experienced Texas truck accident attorney. In the meantime, keep these important factors in mind:
- Don’t let the negligent party intimidate you. You were injured, and your rights matter. This goes for the trucker, the trucking company, the company’s attorney or insurance provider, and other representatives of the negligent parties. If you were injured by someone else’s negligence, it’s your legal right to seek the compensation to which you’re entitled. Refer the inquiries of others to your attorney.
- Don’t sign anything. If you’re offered a settlement, don’t feel tempted to sign it out of sheer frustration or to simply get the thing over with. Your truck accident attorney will help you determine if the settlement truly compensates you for all of your losses, which can be financial, physical, and emotional.
- Don’t postpone filing. The longer you wait to file a truck accident claim, the more difficult it becomes to adequately support your case. Critical evidence is likely to lose credibility or deteriorate over time.
- Don’t volunteer any information. After a truck accident, you are naturally upset—but don’t take this opportunity to share your story with anyone associated with the at-fault trucker. This shared information could damage your case when the other side misconstrues it later. Your truck accident lawyer will share any information that you need to share.
There’s never a good time for a truck accident, but the holidays are perhaps the worst time. Unfortunately, the frantic pace of the season can lead to an uptick in these highly dangerous accidents. As the holidays approach, make driving safely your priority.
Contact an Experienced Houston Truck Accident Attorney Today
If you are involved in a truck accident this holiday season, it is important to speak to a Houston personal injury lawyer as soon as you can. At Stewart J. Guss, Attorney at law, we’ve been in the business for more than 20 years, and we’re here to help. To schedule a free case evaluation with the attorneys of Stewart J. Guss, Attorney at Law, call today at (281) 664-6500 or send us an email through our online contact form. Remember—you pay us nothing up front when we take your case, and you pay us nothing unless and until we’ve won your recovery.