Cranwell & Moore P.L.C., Attorneys at Law

What can Virginia drivers do to avoid truck accidents?

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The distinction between a truck and another type of vehicle is easily made. Those who have driven on public roads, whether in Roanoke, Virginia, or elsewhere, have shared road space with a truck at some point and know the need for extra precaution. Trucks, simply put, occupy a greater volume, carry much more weight and must be driven with caution. However, other drivers must also exhibit greater awareness and road discipline around these vehicles in order to minimize the risk of a truck accident.

For instance, although truck drivers may have a wider view of the road ahead and behind them to either side, it is still possible for another vehicle to be in their blind spot. This is easy to determine and fix as, ideally, someone driving beside and behind a truck should be able to look into the truck's side-view mirror and spot the driver. The general safety recommendation is to drive on the left of the truck, which is more immediately and easily visible to the driver.

It can be also significantly more dangerous to be right behind a truck because tailgating a truck can impede a driver's ability to gauge road and traffic conditions not within sight and drive accordingly. In addition, since trucks need more room to maneuver, drivers should take care not to be caught off-guard by a truck's movement. In rain or similar wet conditions, trucks spray more moisture than ordinary vehicles, so it is important to maintain a greater distance to provide maximum windshield visibility.

Smaller cars tend to wobble when passing or being passed by a truck, due to the truck disturbing a wider column of air as it moves. A car driver with insufficient control may be risking a collision or a skid off the road in such cases. The simplest precaution in such cases is to let the truck pass and not panic or try to overtake the truck. It is always useful to keep in mind that, unlike small cars, trucks need a lot more time and distance to come to a complete stop and can tend to spin out of control if this is not available.

Source: DMV.Virginia.gov, "Motor Carrier Safety," accessed on Nov. 6, 2014

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