Driver fatigue, inexperienced drivers, and distractions are obvious causes of truck accidents in South Carolina and throughout the country. But did you know that the fall season represents a particularly dangerous time in the trucking industry and that factors such as wet leaves and increased agricultural activity can increase the risk of crashes? You may be surprised about some of the common causes behind the seasonal increase in truck accidents during the fall. Here are some hidden dangers lurking during the fall.
1. Fall Weather Hazards
Autumn brings a welcome respite from the hot Carolina summer, but its variable weather can present its own challenges. Rain and wet leaves can make roads slick, reducing tire traction. Cooler nights can give way to foggy mornings, while the low-lying sun during sunrise and sunset can cause visibility issues, blinding truckers at crucial moments. All these factors can unexpectedly complicate a truck driver’s job, elevating the risk of accidents.
Semi-truck drivers are responsible for following the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regarding which weather conditions they can drive in and driving safely in whichever conditions they choose to drive in. Those who violate these standards can be held financially responsible for the harm they cause.
2. Daylight Savings Time
The end of Daylight Savings Time means earlier sunsets and disrupted sleep patterns. Research indicates that 30 more people died during a recent ten-year period due to the loss of sleep caused by Daylight Savings Time. Sleep loss is particularly problematic for truck drivers, who are already plagued with fatigued driving driven by tight delivery schedules and pressure from trucking companies. This sudden shift can throw off a truck driver’s internal clock, potentially leading to fatigue and reduced alertness on the road. Shortening days mean longer nights, during which darkness can obscure hazards and impair depth perception, making navigation more challenging and increasing the odds of a wreck, especially in unfamiliar areas.
3. Brake Issues
According to the Large Truck Crash Causation Study, approximately 29 percent of truck accidents listed brake problems as a contributing factor. Brakes are often in worse shape during the fall due to moisture and colder temperatures. Brake pads are also less efficient when they are damp. Water can also freeze in air brake lines, causing additional issues. Failing to regularly inspect or maintain brakes during the fall can lead to serious truck accidents.
4. Increased Agricultural Traffic
Autumn is the harvest time for many different crops, which means there is often a significant increase in agricultural vehicle traffic on major highways and rural roads throughout North and South Carolina as farmers bring their produce to market. Truck drivers sometimes encounter slow-moving equipment that requires sudden deceleration or groups of farm vehicles that cause frustrating delays. Additionally, agricultural vehicles add to regular traffic congestion, sometimes causing unpredictable driving patterns and contributing to heightened accident risk.
5. Back-to-School Traffic
Fall is also the start of a new school year, so more buses are on the roads, increased vehicular traffic during school drop-off and pick-up times, and young pedestrians are navigating crosswalks. Truck drivers must exhibit extra caution when school is in session, particularly in school zones. The influx of vulnerable road users and the need for frequent stops can create difficult driving conditions and, unfortunately, an uptick in truck accidents.
Contact an Experienced South Carolina Truck Accident Attorney
Were you or a loved one hurt in a truck accident in South Carolina? If so, you may not know what steps to take or your legal options for recovering compensation. Stewart Law Offices provides a free case review to give you a chance to speak with a knowledgeable truck accident lawyer in South Carolina. We can answer your questions and explain your legal options during a free and confidential case review. Contact us today to get started.