Trucking Injuries and Accidents in Virginia
Virginia Truck Accidents
The Commonwealth of Virginia is in a state of transition. The suburbs south of DC are some of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the country, as young families search for affordable living within a reasonable commute of the nation’s capital. And as the population increases, so does the need for highways, freeways, and expressways to minimize the traffic.
All these commuters share the roads with a variety of larger vehicles, including 18 wheelers, tour buses, and box vans. The lower speeds these vehicles travel can lead to traffic snarls, but the bigger risk is for serious accidents between large trucks and smaller vehicles. Toll roads have been implemented to alleviate some of the pressure on the common infrastructure, but the mingling of commuters and trucks remains dangerous on a day-to-day basis.
Further from DC, the heart of Virginia is beautiful, with rolling hills and lowlands spotted with trees of varying hues. Barns and smaller towns are sprinkled through the countryside. Uniqueness if found in old Civil War battlegrounds and other landmarks, as well as university communities. Slowly but surely, these areas give way to the mountains in the West.
Though the Eastern and Northeastern areas of Virginia have become the new population centers, the Western and Southwestern sections of the state present difficult topographical issues for drivers. These areas of the state are dominated by the Appalachian Mountains—and mountain highways are particularly treacherous for truck drivers and those who share the road with them.
Lower speed limits for trucks in these areas are designed to minimize the risk of big rig accidents, but some truckers are tempted to push these limits to avoid losing time on their runs. And, even when following the guidelines for lower speed limits, large trucks pose risks to other drivers who might come up behind them at higher speeds—particularly around blind corners.
Lane restrictions are an important safety measure in mountainous regions, as large trucks and semis are required to stay in the right lane. Some drivers ignore these restrictions, however, increasing the accident risk for everyone else on the road. According to statistics from the Virginia DMV, nearly 10 percent of all commercial vehicle related crashes were due to improper lane changes.
With Virginia’s varied topography, from the Appalachians in the West through the central lowlands to the east coast, Virginians and people driving through Virginia can encounter a variety of weather conditions over the course of a day. These differing weather conditions can present hazards, including:
- Sustained wind and gusts of wind that can make it more difficult for vehicles—particularly large trucks—to stay in their lanes or even stay on the road
- Hard rain, which leaves road surfaces slick
- Snow and ice
- Fog in the coastal regions, which limits visibility for truckers and other drivers
Ice is particularly dangerous in the mountain regions, where losing control of the vehicle for even a moment can lead to a catastrophic accident. Many drivers think of Virginia as a southern state, and are ill-prepared for the wintry weather that can occasionally occur. For a truck driver who needs to finish his run on-time, the temptation to push through icy conditions can be high.
Virginia Truck Accident Safety and Prevention
There are some cautionary measures drivers can do to minimize the risks of an accident with a large truck. Though none of these guarantee safety, it is important to take whatever precautions you can, such as:
- Awareness of speed limit and lane restrictions for trucks
- Awareness of weather conditions and how they impact your vehicle as well as the vehicles around you
- Common sense as to pulling over in heavy fog or rain
- Use of high beams as necessary
- Focus on the terrain such as mountain areas and urban areas
- Following posted speed limits and signs indicating traffic problems in the area
Although precautions are no guarantee of safety, they can assist in the driver’s awareness in unfamiliar territory. Sadly, there is no set of measures you can take that will prevent all accidents. Other drivers on the road can create situations where a crash is absolutely unavoidable. Though large trucks make up a very small percentage of the vehicles on the road, in 2015 the Virginia DMV estimated commercial vehicles were responsible for 1 out of every 10 fatal accidents.
Legal Help for Virginia Truck Accident Victims
Determining whether or not an accident was unavoidable, and determining where fault lies, can be extremely difficult. Insurance companies have financial interests in protecting their clients, and will often attempt to downplay the seriousness of accidents or shift guilt from the other party onto you. Knowing how to deal with insurance companies, and with the other driver, can be very difficult in these situations.
Hiring an experienced attorney to guide you through this process is one way you can make sure no one takes advantage of you. You are likely to go through this process only once in your life, but a lawyer with a proven track record has helped dozens of people get the compensation to which they are entitled.
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a truck accident, handling the emotional and financial fallout is often overwhelming. Finz & Finz specializes in these types of cases, and can be relied on to guide your case through the difficult legal process. Contact the Finz Firm now, toll free, at (855) TOP FIRM, or fill out the Free Truck Accident Case Evaluation Form to start yourself on the proper path.