Tractor-trailer operators can cause serious, sometimes fatal, crashes when they change lanes or turn without making sure that no cars are close to their rigs. One of the more recent lessons about the damage a big rig can do when driven without the utmost care and caution comes from an April 9, 2014, wreck on I-64 in Huntington, West Virginia (WV).
According to eyewitness accounts reported by television station WSAZ 3, the rear of a semi clipped the front of a car while the trucker was attempting a lane change near the interstate exit to Huntington Mall. The car then flipped three times.
The woman behind the wheel of the car did not sustain serious injuries, but as I know from representing family members of a man who did lose his life in a very similar crash in Virginia (VA), collisions caused by improper lane changes can be deadly. Add in the size and speed of a tractor-trailer traveling on the interstate and the risks posed to occupants any time a vehicle rolls over, and it could be considered miraculous that the woman involved in the WV crash survived.
While drivers of smaller vehicles should avoid tailgating semis or cruising alongside a trailer in a trucker's very large blind spot, the ultimate responsibility for preventing crashes during turns and lane changes rests with the people operating big rigs. Everyone on the road remains safe when truck drivers live up to that responsibility.