What Are the Leading Causes of Virginia Truck Accidents?

The trucking industry plays an integral role in our country’s commerce. Without it, the United States would face almost every kind of supply shortage imaginable. As essential as this industry is, the increased numbers of oversized trucks on our roadways pose a risk to other drivers. Just like anyone else, truck drivers are capable of making mistakes. When that mistake is made by someone operating an 80,000-pound truck, however, the results can be fatal. 

At the law firm of Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp, our Virginia truck accident lawyers have successfully handled thousands of catastrophic truck accident cases involving serious and devastating injuries like traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, multiple bone fractures, internal organ damage, and even fatalities.

The leading causes of Virginia truck accidents include:

Failing to Keep A Proper Lookout

The Commercial Driver’s License Manual states that truck drivers should always be looking 12 to 15 seconds in front of their vehicle to be aware of any road hazards. At city speeds, this is the equivalent of roughly one block and about a quarter-mile at highway speeds. Changing lanes or coming to a stop in an oversized truck requires a lot of space, so looking ahead is extremely important. A truck driver who fails to look ahead can easily miss brake lights from a stopping vehicle or a driver who is changing lanes or turning. 

Lane Changes

It is almost impossible for a truck driver to notice a car sitting in its blind spot. The CDL manual says that operators should always check their mirrors to ensure there is enough space prior to changing lanes. After signaling, they are supposed to double-check their mirrors to ensure another driver has not moved into their blind spots. Then, drivers need to check their mirrors once again immediately after they start to switch lanes.  

Entering Traffic

The turning radius of a truck is enormous. They require a much larger amount of space to safely enter or cross the flow of traffic. This is due to their slow rate of acceleration, as well as the amount of space they occupy within a lane. 

Stopping Alongside the Roadway

What Are the Leading Causes of Virginia Truck Accidents?

It is not uncommon for another driver to collide with the back of a truck that is parked alongside the road because they thought it was moving. Most trucks do not fit onto the shoulder so it is important for the operator to place flares or cones behind the truck and use their four-way flashers anytime they need to pull over. Truck drivers should never assume that their taillights are adequate warning. Caution devices need to be positioned at 10-foot, 100-foot, and 200-foot intervals toward oncoming traffic.

Not Leaving Enough Braking Distance

In order to get a commercial driver’s license, truck drivers are required to know that it takes 450 feet to come to a complete stop when driving at a speed of 55 miles per hour. They also need to be able to calculate their stopping distances at various speeds.   

Driving In Inclement Weather 

The CDL manual urges truck operators to avoid foggy conditions. Fog is usually unpredictable and can cause visibility to deteriorate rapidly. Drivers already on the roadway when fog occurs are advised to greatly reduce their speed and use their four-way flashers.

In snowy or rainy weather, operators should decrease their speed by at least 34%.  So, in an area where the speed limit is 55 mph, truck drivers should reduce their speed to about 35 mph in inclement weather.  

Experienced Tractor Trailer Accident Lawyers

Whether the insurance carrier contacts you immediately or takes their time, the sooner you seek legal guidance from an attorney who understands truck accidents, the better off you will be. In a Virginia truck accident, a timely investigation is essential to the successful recovery of damages for your injuries. It ensures that evidence such as impact marks and skid mark measurements are recoverable.

No one should ever be forced to cope with the economic consequences of a crash caused by a careless truck driver. Accidents involving oversized trucks are physically and financially devastating. At Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp, our Virginia truck accident lawyers can help you bring the at-fault driver to account and help you get the compensation you need. Call our offices at (833) 997-1774 to schedule your free consultation today. 

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