Virginia traffic safety: How to share the road with large trucks

Accidents involving large trucks and passenger vehicles are all too common, but there are things drivers can do to avoid such crashes.

All too often, collisions occur involving large commercial vehicles and smaller passenger automobiles. According to DRIVE SMART Virginia, one study found that the drivers of passenger vehicles are responsible for causing 78 percent of such accidents. As a result of truck accidents, the drivers and occupants of the passenger vehicles often suffer serious injuries and, in some cases, death. There are, however, steps that Virginia drivers can take to help safely share the road with large trucks.

Allow commercial trucks ample space

The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles points out that commercial vehicles can weigh 10,000 pounds or more. Furthermore, they may be either large single-unit vehicles or combination vehicles, which may include a single-unit truck and a trailer. Due to their large size, semitrailers generally require more space to maneuver than other, smaller vehicles. For example, large trucks may need to swing wide to one side in order to safely turn in the other direction. Therefore, it is advisable that motorists allow tractor trailers ample space, and avoid crowding or squeezing when sharing the road with them.

Signal intentions early

In general, large trucks require greater distances to accelerate, maneuver and stop. Thus, it is suggested that drivers signal their intentions early when they are sharing the road with commercial vehicles. Doing so may help ensure truckers have enough time to safely react, which may help avoid some trucking accidents.

Stay out of the no-zones

Commercial vehicles have large blind spots to the front, rear and on both sides. When cars, trucks and SUVs are in these areas, the truckers often cannot see them. Consequently, they may not be able to take action to avoid crashing into them. Therefore, drivers are advised to stay out of these so-called no-zones as much as possible when sharing the road with semitrailers.

Refrain from tailgating

Sometimes, motorists may follow closely behind other vehicles. Commonly referred to as tailgating, this is a dangerous practice, especially when sharing the road with large trucks. When tailgating semitrailers, drivers may be unable to see what is happening on the road in front of them. Additionally, it often makes it difficult for the truckers to see them, and their vehicles. As such, it is recommended that drivers avoid tailgating large trucks in order to prevent some commercial vehicle accidents.

Use caution when passing

Passing tractor trailers can sometimes be dangerous. Due to their size, motorists often need more time and space to safely make these maneuvers. Thus, it is suggested that drivers ensure they have enough clear road in front of them before attempting to pass a large truck. Additionally, the Virginia DMV suggests that people avoid passing commercial vehicles on their right sides. This is because these vehicles' largest blind spots are on that side, which may prevent truckers from seeing drivers as they attempt to pass them.

Working with an attorney

As the attorneys at The Law Offices of Daniel L. Crandall & Associates know, Virginia trucking accidents may occur despite motorists taking the appropriate precautions. As a result, people may suffer serious injuries, which require extensive medical treatment. This may lead to them incurring unexpected medical costs, as well as losing income while they are off of work recovering. If such collisions were the result of a trucker, or trucking company's negligence, however, they may be liable for these, and other damages. In order to understand their rights and options, it may benefit those who have experienced such situations to seek legal guidance.