truck on the road during the winter season

There’s no good time for a truck accident, but they can be especially devastating when they happen near holidays.

Summer and winter holidays are traditionally busy times for visiting with family and friends. Many people choose to travel by car around holidays. All that extra traffic on highways makes it harder for commercial truck drivers to maneuver safely, increasing the risk of accidents involving cars and other trucks.

If you’ve been injured in an accident caused by another driver, our attorneys can help you understand your legal options. If you have a valid claim, we’ll help you pursue fair compensation for your injuries and other losses. Founded more than 50 years ago, Joye Law Firm has helped thousands of South Carolinians rebuild their lives after serious accidents. Our attorneys seek to make a positive difference in the lives of people who turn to us for help, and we’re eager to help you. Contact us today for a free initial consultation with a truck accident lawyer in South Carolina.

Holiday Truck Accident Statistics

A recent study from the South Carolina Department of Transportation found that there were 162 truck accidents that resulted in serious injuries in a single recent year. 104 of those truck crashes resulted in deaths.

Holiday traffic deaths in South Carolina were as follows:

  • Memorial Day – 9 deaths
  • Fourth of July – 13 deaths
  • Labor Day – 16 deaths
  • Thanksgiving – 22 deaths
  • Christmas – 4 deaths
  • New Year’s – 4 deaths

A Help Advisor analysis of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration crash data from 2015 through 2019 found that South Carolina had the second-highest per capita rate of fatal holiday accidents for the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.

Holidays are a time of parties and celebrations which often include alcohol consumption. Approximately 44 percent of fatal holiday accidents in South Carolina involved drunk or impaired drivers compared to a national average of 33 percent, the analysis found. There is no good reason to drive while impaired.

Reasons That May Contribute to More Truck Accidents During Holidays

There are reasons that help explain why truck accidents happen more often during the holidays, such as:

  • More drivers and trucks on the road – The holidays typically see a significant increase in goods being shipped to stock store shelves. The more drivers there are on the road, the more likely accidents are to occur. Online shopping has increased the number of delivery trucks dropping off packages around the end-of-year holidays such as Christmas, Hanukkah, and Thanksgiving.
  • Bad weather – Tractor-trailers are particularly vulnerable to accidents in poor weather conditions because they’re large, heavy vehicles. Trucks take more room to stop than automobiles. During the winter months, truck drivers in South Carolina are more likely to encounter wet roads and hazardous driving conditions. Slick roads greatly increase a heavy truck’s stopping distance. A truck driver who hasn’t slowed down sufficiently to take into account the hazardous driving conditions may be unable to stop in time to avoid a crash if traffic slows or brakes unexpectedly.
  • Driver fatigue – As truck drivers rush to make holiday deliveries, they often find themselves working long hours without adequate rest. Federal hours of service rules limit the amount of time commercial truck drivers engaged in interstate commerce can drive without rest breaks. The rules are intended to minimize truck driver fatigue, which is a serious issue. But tight holiday delivery deadlines may cause truckers to disregard the rules. Tired truck drivers have dulled reflexes and may even fall asleep at the wheel.
  • Impaired driving –Holidays can be difficult times for truck drivers who are on the road and spending the holiday apart from family. Alcohol consumption goes up around holidays. Accidents involving impaired truck drivers are rare, but they do happen, even though the percentage of commercial truck drivers arrested for driving while intoxicated is smaller than the percentage of impaired drivers in the general population. Commercial truckers know they stand to lose their commercial driver’s license and their livelihood if convicted of impaired driving.

Tips For Drivers to Stay Safe During Holidays

If you are traveling by car during the holidays, you are likely to encounter large trucks on South Carolina highways.

Here are tips for driving around large trucks to help prevent accidents:blue truck in a snowy road

  • Avoid lingering in a truck’s blind spots. Tractor-trailers have large blind spots in which smaller vehicles cannot be seen by the truck driver. Pass a truck or slow down to let the truck pass to avoid driving directly beside a big rig.
  • Avoid passing trucks on a downhill section of highway. Trucks tend to pick up speed on downgrades. Do not pass on the right side. A truck driver isn’t expecting cars to pass on the right side and is more likely to overlook you in a blind spot.
  • Reduce your speed, especially in heavy traffic.
  • When following a truck, allow plenty of space between your vehicle and the truck in front. Tailgating a truck is dangerous.
  • Anticipate that a tractor-trailer will make wide turns. If a truck has a turn signal flashing, do not try to squeeze by the truck. When stopped at intersections, do not stop in front of the line. Trucks need that space to make wide turns.
  • Be sure to wear your seat belt when in a car.
  • Do not drive while impaired under any circumstances.
  • Watch out for other drivers who may be impaired, and report them to the police.
  • Avoid distractions and keep your eyes on the road.
  • Leave early and give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination.

Contact a Commercial Truck Accident Attorney Today

Have you been hurt in a commercial truck accident in South Carolina? If another driver was at fault, you may be entitled to seek compensation for your medical bills, lost income, and other expenses. Accidents involving commercial trucks may involve several insurance companies and can be more complicated to resolve. You will benefit from the guidance of an experienced S.C. truck accident attorney. Contact Joye Law Firm today for a free consultation with a South Carolina commercial truck accident lawyer.

About the Author

Mark Joye is the Head of the Litigation Department at the Joye Law Firm. A Board-Certified Trial Advocate with nearly 30 years of litigation experience, he currently serves on the Board of Governors for the American Association for Justice and is a past president of the South Carolina Association for Justice. In a recent trial, Joye headed a trial team that secured $17 million for a family killed in a tractor-trailer accident.

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