Understanding the common causes of large truck accidents in Virginia

Large tractor trailers can pose a serious danger to motorists on the road. Drivers should know how to avoid these dangers and travel safe alongside big rigs.

Large tractor trailers are essential to the economy, as they deliver vital products across Virginia and throughout the United States. While many Virginia motorists are accustomed to sharing the road with these big rigs, they may not understand the inherent danger that tractor trailers can bring. Furthermore, the American Trucking Association reported that motorists may see more large trucks traversing the nation's freeways in coming years. In order to stay safe on the road and avoid catastrophic large truck accidents, motorists should know how to drive safely around tractor trailers.

The facts

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that 3,964 people were killed in large truck accidents in 2013. Approximately 95,000 people obtained serious injuries from tractor trailer accidents that same year. In many of these cases, negligent truck drivers or tractor trailer malfunctions were responsible for initiating the tragic accidents. As more tractor trailers fill Virginia roadways, officials have developed the Drive Smart Virginia Share the Road with Trucks Program.

Common causes of large truck accidents

According to State Farm, there are several common causes of large truck accidents. These include:

  • Negligent truck drivers: Truckers who drive while distracted, drunk, drowsy or otherwise impaired are responsible for causing a number of large truck accidents. Although federal regulations attempt to limit the number of negligent drivers, some trucking companies and truckers violate these rules.
  • Adverse driving conditions: Truckers can easily lose control of their vehicles when driving in icy, windy, snowy, rainy or foggy conditions. Not only are the high-profile vehicles prone to tipping over in high winds, but they can slide and jackknife as well.
  • Poor weight distribution: Cargo should be loaded so that it is kept close to the ground and toward the truck's center of gravity, according to TruckingTruth.com. Poorly loaded freight can shift and cause the trailer to tip over.

Equipment malfunction is another cause for concern when it comes to tractor trailer accidents. A poorly maintained truck may malfunction and cause a tragic truck accident. The truck's tires, braking system, headlights, steering and safety devices should be checked regularly.

Tips for staying safe

Although motorists should drive cautiously at all times, they should be especially careful when maneuvering around tractor trailers. Drivers should stay out of tractor trailers' blind spots, which occur on all sides of the truck. When approaching a big rig, drivers should pass the truck quickly, and on the left hand side of the truck. Since large trucks need a longer distance to stop, drivers should avoid pulling out directly in front of trucks and braking. Big rigs make wide turns, and drivers need to allow for this extra space as well.

Obtain a legal representative

People who have been seriously injured in a large truck collision may have to live with the aftermath of the accident for years to come. Some people may have lost a loved one because of a truck driver's negligence. You may receive financial compensation for your medical expenses, property damage, lost wages from work and emotional trauma. An attorney in Virginia may be helpful in exploring your legal options and organizing your personal injury case.

Keywords: truck, accident, injury