I-81 Accident Lawyer in Virginia
Interstate 81, or I-81, stretches for 855 miles through the United States. Nearly half of the interstate route, or 325 miles, goes through Virginia, which is a longer stretch than in any other state. From the south, I-81 enters Virginia at Bristol, Tennessee. It exits in the north in Berkeley County, West Virginia, near the town of Ridgeway.
Unfortunately, accidents are highly common on this stretch of interstate. In fact, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) reports that more than 2,000 crashes occur on I-81 in Virginia each year, including 45 “major crashes,” or crashes that take at least four hours to clear.
Here, we take a closer look at why accidents happen so frequently on I-81, and we focus on what you can do to drive as safely as possible on the interstate. The experienced Virginia personal injury attorney at Lichtenstein Law Group PLC also explain what you should do to protect your right to compensation if you should ever be involved in an I-81 accident.
Why Do Accidents Happen on I-81 in Virginia?
A combination of several factors makes I-81 an unusually dangerous stretch of interstate in Virginia. Those factors include:
- Heavy travel – As VDOT notes, I-81 passes through 21 cities and towns in Virginia, and it connects with five other interstates. Additionally, it runs parallel to the Blue Ridge Parkway, which is the country’s most highly visited national park. As a result, you simply encounter a great deal of traffic involving all kinds of vehicles on this interstate. At times, traffic can become congested, which raises the risk of rear-end collisions.
- Especially heavy commercial vehicle traffic – What really makes I-81 stand out is the high number of tractor-trailers that travel on it. According to VDOT, I-81 actually has the highest per capita truck volume in Virginia. Millions of trucks use this route throughout the year, transporting billions of dollars in goods. Unfortunately, the increased presence of trucks increases the risk of truck accidents. Roughly one-fourth of the crashes on I-81 each year involve tractor-trailers, which is the highest percentage for any interstate route in Virginia, VDOT reports.
- Road and weather conditions – The interstate passes through mountainous terrain. As you drive along I-81, you will encounter many steep grades and tight curves. Even in good weather, it can be dangerous. Unfortunately, poor weather conditions such as fog, snow and ice are common in the region which I-81 passes through, and those conditions greatly raise the risk of getting into a collision.
How Can You Avoid Truck Collisions on I-81 in Virginia?
Because you are bound to encounter commercial trucks when you travel along I-81 through Virginia, you should be aware of tips that you can follow to increase safety for you and your loved ones. Those tips include:
- Stay out of the truck’s blind spots – A large commercial truck has blind spots around all four sides. So, you should use extra precaution when you pass a truck and when a truck passes you. Think of it this way: If you can’t see the truck driver’s face in the truck’s side mirror, then that driver likely can’t see your car.
- Leave a safe following distance – You should never follow any vehicle too closely – and especially when it is a large commercial rig. Try to leave more following distance than you would when trailing a passenger vehicle.
- Don’t pass on the right – If you pass a tractor-trailer on its right side, you enter into a blind spot. As a result, you face the risk of the truck driver merging into the lane ahead of you or hitting the side of your car. For this reason, you should always use the left lane on I-81 when you pass a truck.
What Should You Do If You Are in an I-81 Accident?
Unfortunately, even the safest drivers can get involved in collisions with truck drivers on I-81. Some truck drivers engage in careless and reckless acts that put others in danger and, ultimately, cause devastating accidents. If you are involved in a crash with a truck on I-81, you should do your best to take these steps:
- Call the police – A truck driver may be nervous about getting a ticket or getting into trouble with his or her employer. So, the driver may try to convince you that “we don’t need to get the police involved.” Don’t listen. Instead, call 911 as soon as possible. Law enforcement officers can secure the scene, including diverting traffic away from the crash for safety reasons. They can also investigate the crash and prepare a report.
- Document the scene – If you are able to do so, take photos of your vehicle, the tractor-trailer and all other vehicles involved in the accident. You should also try to take photos of skid marks, debris and other aspects of the crash scene. These photos could play an important role in your case.
- Contact an attorney – Trucking companies and their insurers have a lot at stake when accidents happen. They will move fast to protect themselves from liability. You need to move fast, too. You should contact an experienced Virginia truck accident attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can take immediate steps to preserve and gather potentially crucial evidence.
- Get medical attention – You should see a doctor as early as you can. The doctor can check you for injuries and start your treatment. A timely diagnosis of your injuries will be important for your health as well as for your potential legal claim.
Our Virginia I-81 Accident Attorneys Can Help You
If you have been on an accident along the I-81 corridor in Virginia, you should get in touch with the experienced and dedicated Roanoke car accident attorneys at Lichtenstein Law Group PLC without delay. We have more than 100 years of combined legal experience, including an extensive background with handling truck accident investigations. We will move quickly to preserve evidence and protect your right to recover full and fair compensation for the harm that you have suffered. Call or reach us online today to learn more in a free consultation.