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The dos and do nots of sharing Virginia roads with large trucks


Sharing the road with large trucks can pose hazards for passenger vehicles, but by taking certain precautions drivers may help improve their safety.

Every day, drivers across the U.S. share the road with tractor-trailers and other large commercial vehicles. Unfortunately, collisions involving large trucks and passenger automobiles are all too common in Virginia and elsewhere. In fact, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles reports there were 2,306 trucking accidents across the state in 2017, many of which resulted in serious personal injury or death. While drivers cannot prevent all such wrecks, taking certain precautions may help improve their safety when sharing the road with commercial vehicles.

Do keep a safe distance when following.

Due to their size and weight, heavy trucks require more distance and time to reach the speed limit than passenger vehicles. When driving behind semitrailers then, motorists should keep this in mind and use care not to tailgate or otherwise follow too closely. Allowing a safe following distance and refraining from accelerating too quickly when behind large trucks may help people avoid potentially serious rear-end collisions. Further, it lets them better see the traffic and conditions in front of them, so they are able to react to changes or hazards.

Do not attempt to squeeze by a turning truck.

When drivers see space between a vehicle at an intersection and the curb, there is sometimes the temptation to attempt to squeeze by and make a turn. This may be dangerous, however, when the vehicle they are attempting to move past is a commercial truck. When alongside tractor-trailers, the truckers may not be able to see people’s vehicles and take action to avoid striking them.

Do use caution when passing.

It takes more distance to pass tractor-trailers than it takes to pass other automobiles because of their length. Therefore, it is vital that drivers ensure there is ample clear road in front of them before attempting such maneuvers. This may help the avoid having to cut in front of a large truck, which may not be able to slow or stop in time to avoid crashing. While a car traveling 55 mph may be able to stop in 130 to 140 feet, a semitrailer driving the same speed may need up to 400 feet to come to a safe and complete stop.

Do not linger in the no-zones.

Anyone who has driven a vehicle has likely dealt with blind spots, and thus, is familiar with how they may obstruct motorists’ view of the objects and other automobiles in those areas. For semitrailers, the blind spots extend well to the front and rear, as well as along the left and right sides. Due to the traffic conditions and other factors, it may not be possible for drivers to remain entirely out of these so-called no-zones. However, it is advisable for people to avoid lingering in them for any longer than necessary to help ensure they and their vehicles are visible to the truckers with whom they are sharing the road.

Seeking legal guidance.

When people are involved in Virginia trucking accidents, they may suffer injuries that require time away from work to recover, as well as extensive medical treatment. Thus, in addition to their physical pain and suffering, they may also face challenges including lost wages and mounting medical bills. Under some circumstances, the truckers or trucking companies responsible for such collisions may be held financially liable.

The Law Offices of Daniel L. Crandall recognizes that by far the majority of truck drivers are careful, conscientious operators who are constantly on the lookout for ways to keep everyone safe on the highways. But for those occasions where there has been an accident with injuries from a tractor trailer wreck, we encourage people to discuss their rights with an attorney from Crandall & Katt, Attorneys at Law to learn more about their options for pursuing full and fair financial compensation.