Virginia law prohibits motorists from driving below the speed limit in the left lane, or from being in the left lane if they are not passing another car or turning left. The law is meant to keep traffic from backing up, but also to make roads safer, especially for emergency vehicles driving in the left lane. Despite the law, there are times where vehicles need to be in the left lane, such as when they are taking a left exit ramp. Trucks also need to be in the left lanes under these circumstances, despite the laws that normally prohibit it.
This can present a dangerous situation for car drivers. The best way for vehicle drivers to avoid being injured or killed in truck accidents while both are merging into lanes on the highway is to make sure their vehicle is not in the truck driver’s blind spot. Keep in mind if you cannot see the truck’s mirrors, the truck driver cannot see your vehicle.
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Truck drivers also need to stay aware of the vehicles that are around them when they are approaching a left-side exit ramp. They need to remember to always check their mirrors to make sure they can proceed with a clear merge, as well as use their signals to warn other drivers they are exiting on the left.
Who Is Liable?
Unfortunately, truck accidents are a common occurrence on Virginia’s highways. When a crash occurs, the question that needs to be determined is who was at fault for the crash and who is liable for the losses injured victims suffer.
Some of the factors that are considered in determining liability include:
- Was either driver under the influence of any alcohol and/or drugs when the crash occurred?
- What were the weather and road conditions when the crash occurred?
- Was the vehicle driver speeding up in order to pass the truck?
- Did the truck driver check all his or her mirrors before proceeding in the left lane?
Victims of Truck Crashes
Truck accidents are more complex than other types of vehicle accidents and can even have more than one liable party. Victims of truck accidents should consider retaining the services of an experienced Virginia truck accident attorney who will conduct a thorough investigation of the crash, including obtaining the driving and employment record of the truck driver, maintenance records, and other critical information which will help determine the cause of the crash and which parties are responsible.
If you or a family member has been injured in a truck accident, or if you have lost a loved one in a crash, contact a seasoned Virginia personal injury attorney to discuss what legal recourse you may have. Even if it is not entirely clear who is the at-fault party, a Va. injury attorney will be able to determine which party or parties are liable. At Shapiro & Appleton, our injury attorneys have represented numerous truck accident victims and have the legal expertise to handle these complex cases with positive results.