The holidays can be some of the busiest and most stressful times for workers. December is the month where many businesses expect to sell the most of their products before enjoying those couple of days off and celebrating the end of the year.
With truck drivers, the stress of the holidays is in some ways similar and in some ways different. Some preoccupy themselves with scheduling their shipments at the right time so they can spend time with their families. However, several truck drivers are unaware of the various dangers that lie in store for them during the final month of the year. Each driver should be aware of these particular hazards so they can plan their routes and safety precautions accordingly.
Snowy and slick roads
December has some of the most unpredictable weather of the year. November tends to give some warning signs of what is to come, and snow days are inevitable in January, some truck drivers are still adjusting to the inconsistent snowfalls their state has received, but the conditions are leaving little room for that adjustment period.
In 2016, three people died when a semitrailer truck crossed the median on I-80. While the amount of snow on the road was not significant, reports believe the accident was caused by the truck driver going too fast on the noticeably slick road. It was one of the first major snowfalls in the area that year. Iowa's rural roads leave minimal room for error when it comes to trucks navigating through the area. Regardless of their schedule, their priority should be getting the materials and themselves to the destination safely.
Falling asleep behind the wheel continues to be one of the top accident causes for truckers. As a result of daylight savings time in November, there is significantly less sunlight out than the previous months. Most of the rural roads that make up a large portion of Iowa's highways do not have sufficient lighting.
While most drivers are used to the early darkness at this point, many truckers push themselves while operating in December. They may be trying to make it back on time to celebrate Christmas with their family or dealing with the slow nature of holiday driving. They should know when to pull over to a rest area to either stretch themselves out or get the necessary sleep before getting back on the road.
While Christmas and New Year's are not the most dangerous holidays to drive in, they still rank high when it comes to accidents and fatalities. Truckers will have to worry about lost travelers, squabbling families and drunk drivers occupying the road in the last couple weeks of the year. They should plan their schedule to avoid as much as they can without overworking themselves and making an already tedious month even more stressful.
With the amount of inexperienced and negligent drivers taking to the roads this holiday season, the chances of one crashing into your truck are higher now than most of the other months of the year. You deserve a safe and pleasant holiday as much as any other worker around this time of year. If you or a loved one in the trucking business receive any major injuries from a reckless driver, a workers' compensation attorney can assist you in acquiring coverage so you can spend your time off with fewer worries.