Semi-truck accidents can be mitigated with careful attention

Driving in the winter in Washington definitely requires preplanning and caution in order to avoid a semi-truck accident. Being in an 18-wheeler accident at any time is harrowing, but getting into an accident due to the driver's negligence or carelessness is truly frightening and can be deadly. Of course, you can't control the driver who hits you but you may be able to mitigate the damage done if you do a few simple tasks.

Checking the air pressure in your tires is the first step and ensuring that the tire chains fit before the very first winter storm hits is important. Doing this while it is still warm may be a good idea because mechanics and tire shops are at their busiest right before winter starts.

Getting a check-up on your truck or car including your battery, belts, hoses, lights and your wipers is vital. Also, keeping your tank full can help keep you and your truck safe. That doesn't mean the semi-truck drivers will afford you the same courtesy. Sometimes, even with your best defensive actions, accidents happen because a driver is simply being reckless and may be driving tired or distracted.

Another good idea is to keep a basic winter survival kit in your trunk. A flashlight with charged batteries, a blanket, a flair, extra boots and an extra coat or blanket can make the difference between you being seriously hurt if your vehicle is hit by a semi-truck.

Probably the most important piece of equipment you can have in your car in case of a winter accident is a cellphone. Calling the authorities and alerting your loved ones is vital. If you find yourself in an accident, call the authorities, stay in your car, put on your flashers and wait until they arrive. Be sure to tell them if you or a passenger are injured so that an ambulance can be called as well.

If you have been involved in a semi-truck accident, you may want to consult a legal professional who is cognizant of the laws of the state of Washington and can guide you in getting recompensed for your losses. Medical bills add up quickly, and you shouldn't have to pay them if you didn't cause the accident.

Source: Washington State Department of Transportation, "Frequently asked questions for winter driving" Oct. 29, 2014

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