A tractor-trailer operator sustained serious injuries when the driver of a Volkswagen Passat cut off his semi at the Bells Road exit from I-95 in Chesterfield County, Virginia (VA), on the morning of June 20, 2014. The accident sent both vehicles into a retaining wall, then across several lanes of traffic and off the side of the interstate. The at-fault driver of the small car also got badly hurt in the crash, but no one else suffered injuries.
Crashes involving semis and other large commercial trucks occur with alarming frequency on U.S. highways, and it is common to learn that truckers caused those wrecks. As the accident just outside Richmond shows, however, people behind the wheels of cars, pickup trucks and SUVs also create many dangerous situations that lead to collisions, injuries and, sadly, deaths. Accordingly, Virginia State police have charged the Passat's driver with making an unsafe lane change.
As a Virginia personal injury lawyer who has helped many victims of crashes involving tractor-trailers, I see nearly every day how important it is for all drivers to share the road respectfully, responsibly and safely. When they do not, people get injured or killed unnecessarily.
Tractor-trailers cannot slow down or stop quickly, nor can such long and heavy vehicles be steered easily around an unexpected obstacle like a car suddenly pulling into its lane. Avoiding wrecks such as the one outside of Richmond requires other drivers to stay in their own lanes until they are sure they have enough space to move over without creating an unsafe situation. It is not clear whether the car diver was distracted, impaired by drugs or alcohol, drowsy or just negligent, but the result was an avoidable accident and hospitalizations for himself and the trucker.