February 8, 2013

Baltimore Traffic Safety Update: Fog, Heavy Rain, Blizzards Present Serious Risks to Maryland Drivers

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

The next time you hit a fog bank, encounter white-out blizzard conditions or get stuck in a torrential rain storm, please remember that the prudent course of action is to slow down, turn on your emergency flashers and be prepared for any and all possible accident situations. This is not always easy, even for experienced drivers like police officers, EMS drivers and truckers, but it’s a wise idea to be prepared.

As Maryland auto accident attorneys and personal injury lawyers, we have seen the results of too many car, truck and motorcycle accidents not to take seriously any circumstances that can even remotely lead to a traffic crash or roadway collision involving cars, bikes or commercial trucks. Don't let you or a loved one become just another line in a list of highway accident statistics and please use caution when poor weather strikes.

This advice goes as much to drivers of private vehicles as it does to professional truck drivers. In fact, in many cases, a commercial truck that loses control on a slippery stretch of roadway can cause much more serious and extensive damage to people and property that any passenger car, minivan or sport utility vehicle ever could.

While trucking wrecks come in many guises, these are several categories of commercial truck crashes that are most common. Including among these are crashes resulting from an inadequate following distance. With the sheer size and weight of these huge machines, it is not surprising that they typically require a longer distance to stop than the average passenger car. While some trucking accidents are exacerbated by cars, SUVs and motorcycles pulling in front of a truck and thus reducing that vehicle’s safety cushion, trucker understand how traffic flows and should make adjustments as well.

Another kind of commercial truck accident scenario is the so-called jackknife crash, where the driver of a large tractor-trailer or 18-wheeler hits the breaks suddenly, causing a shift in the vehicle’s load. Ultimately, this can result in the trailer portion of the big rig to swing around to a sideways position. The entire scenario can end up with the tractor and/or the trailer flipped over on its side. While jackknifing can happen at low speeds, poor roadway conditions can contribute to a crash very easily.

Winter weather can set the stage for a bad highway wreck as easily as any. Back in December a number of crashes were blamed on poor visibility when dense fog blanketed the Harford County area. According to news reports at the time, the National Weather Service had already issued more warnings of poor driving conditions, but problems had already been occurring on Interstate 95 between Abingdon and Havre de Grace, as well as on Rte’s 22 and 155.

Based on what we read, the weather service advised extreme caution to motorists who were expected to experience some instances of rapidly deteriorating visibility. In fact, earlier that day, a 30-year-old woman died along a stretch of northbound I-95 near the Rte 22 exit in Harford County. The fatal crash occurred just before 8am on a Saturday morning when the victim’s SUV apparently drove into the back of a semi tractor-trailer in what read like a typical underride situation.

Some addition non-fatal traffic accidents also happened that day. According to information provided by the Maryland State Police, six separate traffic collisions happened on the outer loop of the beltway between Dulaney Valley and Falls roads in Baltimore County. Of those, at least one individual was hurt and had to be transported to Sinai Hospital for medical treatment.


Woman dies in tractor trailer crash, ABC2News.com, Decemebr 8, 2012

Fog Cause Of Several Accidents; Including One Fatal, WBAL.com, December 8, 2012