Monday was a rainy day here, and in the rain there were at least three tractor trailer wrecks on the Atlanta expressways. The worst was on I-285 Northbound just above I-20 West, as a tractor trailer overturned after colliding with at least one other vehicle.
One of the basic rules for operation of a large commercial truck is to exercise “extreme caution” when bad weather affects visibility or traction.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations §392.14 provides:
Extreme caution in the operation of a commercial motor vehicle shall be exercised when hazardous conditions, such as those caused by snow, ice, sleet, fog, mist, rain, dust, or smoke, adversely affect visibility or traction. Speed shall be reduced when such conditions exist. If conditions become sufficiently dangerous, the operation of the commercial motor vehicle shall be discontinued and shall not be resumed until the commercial motor vehicle can be safely operated. . . .
The Commercial Drivers License Manual says:
It will take longer to stop, and it will be harder to turn without skidding, when the road is slippery. Wet roads can double stopping distance. You must drive slower to be able to stop in the same distance as on a dry road. Reduce speed by about one-third (e.g., slow from 55 to about 35 mph) on a wet road.
Just an educated guess here, but I would bet that at least one of the truck drivers involved in those wrecks on Monday didn’t exercise extreme caution and slow down by one-third.
Ken Shigley, author of Georgia Law of Torts: Trial Preparation & Practice, is a board member of the Interstate Trucking Litigation Group, a Certified Civil Trial Advocate of the National Board of Trial Advocacy, he has been listed as a “Super Lawyer” (Atlanta Magazine), among the “Legal Elite” (Georgia Trend Magazine), and in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers . He practices law at the Atlanta law firm of Chambers, Aholt & Rickard, and has broad experience in catastrophic personal injury, wrongful death, products liability, spinal cord injury, brain injury and burn injury cases. He is also president-elect of the State Bar of Georgia. This post is subject to our ethical disclaimer.