Truck accidents are unfortunately on the rise. When truck accidents occur, they can cause devastating injuries for everyone involved—and all too often, they are fatal. The size and weight of trucks mean sharing the road with them can be dangerous.
Dozens of Virginians are killed each year in truck crashes, and thousands more are injured. If you or someone you love is the victim of a truck accident, you may be entitled to seek compensation related to the crash.
Causes of Truck Accidents
Despite hours of training and required certifications, truckers still cause accidents. With the number of hours drivers spend on the road, the potential for disaster is always present.
When a truck driver is at fault for an accident, there can be one or multiple reasons that contributed to the event. Here are some of the ways negligent truckers cause crashes:
- Improper lane change
- Avoiding another vehicle
- Avoiding pedestrian(s)
- Failure to yield
- Following too closely
- Illegal or improper parking
- Improper backing
- Improper passing
- Improper turn
Why Preventing Truck Accidents Matters
Trucks can be 20 or 30 times heavier than a passenger vehicle. That amount of mass can cause devastating injuries when they are involved in a collision. The weight and size of medium and heavy-duty trucks mean the potential for much more severe crashes, including an increase in the type and number of injuries and fatalities per incident.
Because of their size, accident-avoidance actions behind the wheel of a truck, like braking and swerving, take more time to execute and carry the potential to involve multiple vehicles in a crash. Trucks can also be carrying materials that can be hazardous, causing disasters on the road, fires, and explosions.
We must share the road with truckers, but doing so requires everyone to practice safe driving behaviors. Preventing an accident is the best way to avoid injuries and damage from a truck accident.
Car Driver Safety Around Trucks
If you are the driver of a car, be sure you are not contributing to the potential for an accident by staying alert on the road and driving defensively at all times. Always follow these safety rules when sharing the road with trucks:
- Never drink and drive, and don’t drive under the influence of any drugs (including prescription drugs that can make you drowsy).
- Don’t text and drive or operate your cellphone in any manner while driving—that’s Virginia law.
- Always be mindful of trucks and be aware they cannot stop or maneuver as quickly as a smaller vehicle.
- Never tailgate a truck. If you cannot see their side mirrors, you’re too close.
- Pass only on the left, and don’t cut closely in front of them. Because of their weight and size, trucks need more stopping distance than a car in case of the need to brake suddenly.
How Truck Drivers Contribute to Dangerous Roads
Truck drivers are typically highly trained and must undergo testing to receive their CDL (commercial driver’s license). While many safe driving tips are the same for car drivers and truckers and should be followed to prevent accidents, there are many additional reasons trucking accidents can occur, including:
- Improper or poor cargo loading. Standards must be followed as to how cargo should be loaded for transport on trailer beds and how much weight is safe for the journey.
- Reckless driving. When driving a truck, the smallest wrong move can result in disaster.
- Driving under the influence. No driver should ever get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol or using illegal drugs. Some prescriptions can contribute to hazardous driving as well.
- Hazardous weather. Truck drivers often don’t have a choice of when they make their journey. Snow, ice, fog, rain, and darkness can all contribute to hazardous conditions.
- Fatigue. Truck drivers have to spend long hours on the road and may feel pressured to work when they are not properly rested. Driver fatigue is a danger to everyone on the road.
When a truck driver or trucking company is at fault for an accident, injured parties have an uphill battle ahead of them to get compensation. An experienced truck crash attorney can help.