Four tips to safely share West Virginia roads with large trucks

Taking some precautions when sharing the road with commercial vehicles may help West Virginia drivers avoid getting into trucking accidents.

Accidents involving commercial trucks and passenger vehicles are an all too common occurrence on the roads and highways of West Virginia, and throughout the U.S. In fact, at least one heavy truck or bus was involved in 11.9 percent of all fatal collisions occurring throughout the in 2015, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Many more such wrecks result in serious personal injury for the drivers and passengers of the other vehicles. While some trucking crashes are unavoidable, there are things West Virginia motorists can do to help safely share the roads with semitrailers.

Do allow a wide berth

Due to their size and weight, among other factors, commercial trucks may be more difficult to maneuver than passenger vehicles. For example, their wheel bases necessitate that most semitrailers swing out wide to the left in order to safely make a right-hand turn. As such, motorists are advised to allow these vehicles more space than they might otherwise give the other automobiles on the road around them. Further, they should avoid crowding stopped or turning trucks, or attempting to squeeze by them.

Do not brake suddenly or unexpectedly

Large trucks require a longer distance than other vehicles to come to a safe and complete stop. The West Virginia Department of Transportation points out that it takes three times the distance needed by other vehicles for fully-loaded semitrailers to stop when traveling at 55 mph. Keeping this in mind when sharing the road with heavy trucks and refraining from braking suddenly when traveling in front of them may help drivers avoid potentially serious rear-end collisions.

Do use caution when passing

Particularly when traveling on the highway, passing semitrailers may be a hazardous task for drivers. As they prepare to move passed large trucks, drivers are recommended to take their length into account. Motorists must not only ensure they are clear to pass in their own direction, they should also make certain there is ample clear road to safely complete the maneuver. This may help them prevent situations in which they must suddenly slow or stop immediately after moving in front of heavy trucks.

Do not stay in the no-zones

Most people who have driven have dealt with blind spots of some magnitude. Due to their size, these areas are much larger on commercial trucks. When motorists are in these areas, which extend in the front, rear and along both sides, the truck operators may be unable to see them or their vehicles. To help safeguard against semitrailers moving unintentionally into them, it is advisable for drivers to avoid lingering in these vehicles' blind spots, or no-zones, for any longer than they must.

As a result of trucking accidents in West Virginia, and elsewhere, people may suffer serious injuries that require significant treatment and care. Consequently, many in such situations find themselves facing unexpected medical bills and lost income, which may add unnecessary challenges to already difficult circumstances. In some cases, the trucker or trucking companies may be held financially responsible. Thus, those who have been injured in semitrailer-involved collisions may benefit from discussing their options with an attorney.