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Truckers may avoid accidents by monitoring speeds based on vehicle, road and traffic conditions, as well as following federal safety guidelines.
Those who operate tractor trailers in Virginia must take special training before receiving a commercial driver’s license. These vehicles are more difficult to control due to their large size and weight, and can cause significant damage to smaller vehicles in a large truck crash. The following safety advice is aimed specifically at drivers of large trucks.
Knowing when to slow down
Speed is often a factor in commercial vehicle accidents, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Many posted limits, such as those on curves, are set based on the capabilities of smaller vehicles. Sharp curves are particularly hazardous for tractor trailers, and operators should reduce speed before going into the turn to maintain control over the vehicle. There is a high risk of rolling or skidding if trucks are moving too fast.
Truckers should also drive well below regular speeds during bad weather. If ice is a factor, it may be best to leave the road as soon as possible. However, even on wet pavement, the operator should not drive faster than two-thirds of the posted limit, and on packed snow, the truck should be driven at no more than half of the speed limit. Inclement weather may have been a contributor in as many as 25 percent of the deaths caused by speed-related truck accidents.
Reducing blind zones
A vehicle in any of the areas along the sides and rear of a tractor trailer may be all but invisible, even when the truck operator checks the mirrors vigilantly. There are tactics for reducing the hazards related to these “no-zones,” though. For example, sensors and cameras may be placed in the front and rear to identify vehicles in those locations and send a signal to the driver. Fish-eye mirrors and other strategically placed additional mirrors may also significantly reduce the size of the blind spots.
Road construction zones
According to the Federal Highway Administration, truckers are confronted with a number of serious risks when driving through work zones, including the following:
- The need to merge or shift lanes frequently
- Narrowed lanes
- Frequent changes in speed limit
- Inconsistent traffic speeds and unexpected stops
Although ideally, a truck driver should avoid work zones, this is often not an option. To compensate for the extra hazards, an operator should watch for people or construction vehicles on or near the roadway, allow extra stopping distance, and change lanes as far in advance as possible.
People who have found themselves injured in a trucking accident may be awarded financial compensation for the damages they have suffered. In order to find out more about how to proceed, they may want to consult a local attorney who is experienced in personal injury law.