Virginians learn to share the road with large semi-tractor trailers

There's no question that driving amongst semi-tractor trailers on the road poses many dangers for the vehicles that drive near them. While some cars find it best to steer clear of large trucks while driving, others become rather careless and may not fully understand the implications of being involved in an accident with a large truck. In 2011, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported over 3,600 fatal accidents involving semi-tractor trailers across the nation. Seventy-four of those fatalities occurred in Virginia alone. A study conducted by the Virginia Tech Transportation Research Institute discovered that approximately 78 percent of semi-tractor trailer accidents were caused by a passenger vehicle.

Heavy tractor trailers weigh twenty to thirty times more than a passenger vehicle, and a loaded trailer can take up to 40 percent longer than a passenger car to stop. Poorly maintained brakes and bad road conditions can make for a dangerous situation.

What is being done?

Many states have taken preventative action in order to stop big rig fatalities by implementing programs to deter aggressive drivers from getting into harm's way. Virginia's Share the Road campaign developed by Drive Smart Virginia is taking action to educate residents on safe driving practices. Being more aware and cautious of big rigs can help to decrease aggressive driving around them.

Innovative technologies have been introduced into commercial vehicles in order to make them safer for the road. These include the following:

· Forward collision warning

· Side view assist

· Vehicle stability control

· Land departure warning

When combined, all four tractor trailer technologies have been estimated to reduce big rig accidents by up to 28 percent.

Possible causes for big rig accidents

Both big rig drivers and drivers of motor vehicles can be to blame for causing a major accident. Here are a few of the most common ways that an accident may occur.

· Researchers from the NHTSA have found that tractor trailer operators, who spend more than eight hours behind the wheel, double their chances of being involved in an accident. Sleep deprivation is a major contributor to vehicle accidents.

· The braking system on a big rig is somewhat different from that on a passenger vehicle, and it takes longer for a semi-tractor trailer to stop than a vehicle.

· Passenger cars drive recklessly around semi-tractors trailers on the road, cutting them off and driving in their blind spot.

· Big rig drivers have limited visibility in certain areas.

By educating the public on how to drive around semi-trucks, Virginia officials hope to decrease the number of big rig accidents .

Call an attorney

If you have been involved in an accident involving a large tractor-trailer truck, it is important to contact a knowledgeable attorney who has extensive experience in representing these cases. With an attorney on your side, you have a better chance at collecting the compensation you deserve.