Operating a commercial truck is one of the most dangerous jobs in the country according to the United States Department of Labor. Truck operators sustain more on-the-job injuries and deaths than many other professions and, over the last few years, those numbers have risen.
When a trucker is injured on the road, the well-being and safety of those around them is endangered as well, and unfortunately, injuries caused by truck accidents tend to be some of the most catastrophic. There are some steps that Virginia truck drivers can take to stay safe and help prevent serious and fatal accidents.
Is there anything a Virginia truck driver can do to help prevent accidents?
If you have been injured in an accident involving a commercial truck, we encourage you to speak with a Virginia truck accident lawyer from Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp. We offer free consultations to all prospective clients. Our experienced attorneys will review the facts of your case and determine the most prudent legal strategy for recovering compensation.
Safe Trucking for Truckers
Just like any other driver, it is important for truck drivers to be vigilant when it comes to observing traffic laws. Truckers also need to keep in mind the many differences between driving an oversized commercial freight vehicle and a standard passenger car. A truck driver who is conscientious and competent will be fully aware of the importance of following all safety procedures when operating their rigs.
Be Aware of Road Conditions
As the weather and road conditions change, truck drivers need to adjust their driving techniques and their speed accordingly. A road surface that is icy or wet increases the odds of a serious accident for everyone on the roadway, so it is essential to decrease your speed, adjust your braking methods, and stay focused on your surroundings.
Eliminate Distracted Driving
Due to the excessively long hours they spend behind the wheel, commercial truck drivers can be more prone to distracting activities. Making phone calls, sending texts, programming their GPS, eating, drinking, and smoking are all common distractions that can easily pull a driver’s attention off of the roadway and increase their chances of causing an accident. This problem is so serious that truck drivers are actually forbidden to text and drive and are restricted to one-button dialing if they need to make a phone call.
There are federal regulations in place that govern a driver’s Hours of Service. These regulations limit the number of consecutive hours a trucker is allowed to drive before they are legally required to take a break. Drivers should make sure to get plenty of sleep in their downtime and never get behind the wheel when they are tired. Of course, the use of drugs and alcohol is illegal.
Obey the Speed Limit
A tractor-trailer is much more difficult to handle than a passenger vehicle. This is the main reason why truck operators should always obey the speed limit and never drive faster than is safe for current road conditions. A truck that is fully loaded can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds, about 14 times more than a passenger vehicle. They also have a significantly greater braking distance. A speeding truck driver might not be able to stop in time if there is a hazard or accident up ahead, and an underride or rear-end crash could occur if a speeding tractor-trailer comes to a sudden stop.
Observe Basic Safety Practices
Truck drivers should always buckle up before getting on the road. Also, they need to use their turn indicators when changing lanes or turning, use their hazard lights when ascending steep grades, and ensure all of their reflectors and lights are in good condition and in proper working order.
Were You Injured in a Virginia Truck Accident?
While most truck drivers are conscientious professionals who operate according to the suggestions above, there are others who ignore traffic laws and safe driving guidelines, sometimes causing serious accidents. If you were injured by a negligent truck driver, contact the law offices of Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp. We have been defending personal injury clients since 1985. You can rely on our professional Virginia truck accident lawyers to secure the financial compensation you deserve. Schedule your free consultation today by calling (833) 997-1774.