Sharing the Road with Commercial Vehicles

In 2013 there were 4,623 traffic accidents involving a commercial vehicle in the state of Virginia.  Out of the 4,623 accidents, 95 resulted in death and 3,079 resulted in injuries of occupants of the commercial vehicle.  Also, out of the 4,623 crashes, there were 87 fatalities, 1,869 personal injuries and 2,667 property damage claims.

You would think that with this substantial number of accidents/crashes there had to be terrible weather (rain, sleet, etc.) or happened at night, but according to statistics, out of the 4,623 accidents, 3,728 of them happened during no adverse conditions (weather, etc.) and  3,420 happening during the day.

Because of these staggering stats, we have the following safety tips for sharing the road with commercial vehicles.

Even though drivers of commercial vehicles have a better forward view and have larger side mirrors, they also have more and larger blind spots.  A good reminder is “if you can’t see the driver in the side mirror, the driver probably can’t see you.”  Avoid staying in one of their blind spots.

Try not to tailgate a commercial vehicle – not only is it dangerous, it reduces your ability to see what’s happening on the road ahead of you.   It also impedes the commercial vehicle driver’s ability to see you.  Keep a safe distance.

Just because there is “open” space in front of a commercial vehicle, don’t cut in front of the commercial vehicle because the driver is most likely leaving enough room to brake safely.  If this braking distance is reduced, you may be forcing the driver behind you to make a difficult choice: either brake hard or rear-end your vehicle.

When passing a commercial vehicle, maintain a consistent speed and never pass on the right side. This is the side with the largest blind spot. If the commercial vehicle needs to move to the right, the driver may not see you in time to avoid a collision.

Commercial vehicles take more time and need greater distances than cars to speed up, maneuver, and stop. When driving near a commercial vehicle, signal your plans early so the driver has enough time to react safely.

On many highways with more than two lanes, large (commercial) vehicles are not allowed to use the far left lane, even for passing.  When a large vehicle is following you in a center lane, give it the chance to pass you by moving to the right lane.

Accidents involving a commercial vehicle are more complex than other types of motor vehicle crashes.  Victims must deal not only with an insurance company adjuster but also with the company that owns the truck in addition to the many state and federal regulations.

Attorney Vaden Warren has dealt with a number of commercial vehicle accidents and knows how to resolve or try cases involving tractor-trailers.

Even though this article pertains to commercial vehicles, Attorney Warren’s book entitled:  A Crash Course in Virginia Automobile Injury Cases, is a great way to ensure that you protect your rights after any type of vehicle accident. To receive a free copy of the book, click the following link:  A Crash Course in Virginia Automobile Injury Cases.

Although The Warren Firm is located in Charlottesville, VA, Vaden Warren accepts and tries cases from all over Virginia, including Richmond, Louisa, Tappahannock, Lynchburg, and many other surrounding cities and towns. If you or a loved one has been involved in a Virginia car accident, please do not hesitate to give us a call at (434) 972-9090 or visit our website at The Warren Firm.