Any vehicle accident has the potential to be catastrophic, but accidents involving large tractor-trailers are especially severe because of the massive size and weight of these vehicles. National statistics show that there are more than 400,000 truck crashes every year, causing approximately 4,000 deaths and another 80,000 injured victims.
One of the most intimidating experiences for a driver is to have a huge 18-wheeler pull up beside you or behind you as you’re traveling down the highway. It can be a nerve-wracking experience, knowing the destruction that a commercial truck can cause should it roll over, jackknife, or the driver loses control.
There are steps that vehicle drivers can take when they are on the road and find themselves sharing their space with a tractor-trailer. A Virginia truck accident attorney offers the following tips.
Don’t Be Impatient
Due to their huge size and heavy weight, especially when transporting freight, it often takes them longer to both slow down and accelerate. There are also certain rules of the road that truck drivers are required to adhere to that regular vehicle drivers may not be aware of. It can be frustrating to get stuck behind a truck, especially if you are in a hurry, but being impatient and displaying that impatient by tailgating and lane jumping can result in a deadly truck crash.
A driver who is driving a tractor-trailer or other commercial truck has blind spots where they are unable to see vehicles or other objects. These blind spots are located in the front, back, and sides of the truck. There is no way for another vehicle driver to know if the truck driver can actually see them. This is why it is critical to always assume they cannot see you when you are changing lanes or merging into traffic with a large truck.
Watch for Wide Turns
Maneuvering these massive vehicles can be difficult, even for a driver who has extensive training and experience. Trucks need much more space when making a turn compared to other types of vehicles. It is not uncommon for a truck to have to move into the middle of the road when taking a turn. Keep an eye out for any turn signals the driver gives and try to allow the truck enough room to make these turns. Do not try to pass a turning truck on the right-hand side or follow too closely.
Watch When You Are Passing
Always use your turn signals when you are passing a truck and getting into their lane. Do not merge into the lane until you are sure there is plenty of room between you and the truck. Always make sure you can see the truck in your rearview mirror before you actually pull into the lane.
Practice Safe Driving Habits
Drivers should always practice safe driving habits, such as always buckling up their seat belts, avoiding distracted driving behaviors, never driving when tired, and never driving when under the influence.
Contact a Virginia Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, contact a Virginia truck accident attorney to discuss what legal recourse you may have against the responsible party or parties. The legal team from Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp has successfully advocated for many truck accident victims and their families, including a $2.4 million wrongful death settlement for one family whose loved one died in a rear-end collision caused by a tractor-trailer operator.
Our attorneys are available to meet and discuss the details of your case and how we may be able to help. Call our office today to set up a free and confidential case evaluation.
For more information about truck accidents in Virginia, please download our free guide.