Virginia’s busy roads and highways are filled with various types of vehicles, including many large trucks. Many of us get nervous when we drive around trucks, and this is understandable, since accidents involving large trucks usually involve more serious injuries.
There are many factors that contribute to truck accidents in Virginia.
Truck driving is a demanding career. Truck drivers spend many hours on the road, often away from their families for days at a time. They have strict schedules and tight deadlines.
Drowsy and distracted driving
This means that truck drivers could be more susceptible to drowsy or distracted driving than the rest of us. Driving for many hours at a time naturally causes most of us to become drowsy, which is why regular breaks are important.
However, if truck drivers get behind schedule from traffic jams or poor weather, they may skip required break periods to make up time and stay on schedule. This increases the chance of becoming dangerously drowsy.
They might even use distractions, such as looking out the windows at signs or billboards, listening to music or podcasts or using their phones to combat drowsiness. Adjusting a navigation system or using their dispatch device are other actions that are considered distracted driving.
Lack of training
Improper training is another common cause of truck accidents. Certain skills and training are necessary for operating such a large vehicle on public roads.
Truckers who have not been properly trained by their employer could be at an increased risk of an accident. Knowing how to brake safely, maneuver the truck through heavy traffic or enter or exit highways are essential skills for truck drivers. Trucking companies who fail to adequately train their truck drivers are acting negligently.
Sometimes the truck itself is the cause of the accident. Trucks must be properly maintained and serviced to be safely driven. Brakes, tires and other parts should always be checked before the truck goes out on the roads.
How you can stay safe
You do not have control over other drivers on the road, but there are things you can do to reduce your risk of a truck accident.
Give truck drivers plenty of room. If they are tailgating you, move into another lane and let them pass. If you sense they are driving aggressively and purposely targeting you, pull off to the side of the road if you can and call the police to report their behavior.
Be patient. Truck drivers who are driving slowly might be drowsy or distracted, but they also might be trying to drive at a safe speed. Do not speed to get by them or quickly veer around them.
Truck accident victims often sustain serious injuries that impact their entire lives. If you are in a truck accident, knowing these causes can help you examine if one of them contributed to it.