Shapiro, Lewis, & Appleton
Virginia Beach, Virginia
This week in Campbell County, an 18-wheeler carrying glass tipped over while negotiating the off-ramp of the 29 North exit of 409 East near the Monican Bridge. Police believe that the Virginia truck accident took place because the tractor-trailer’s load shifted, throwing the vehicle off balance. Last month in Fairfax County, a tanker truck carrying 9,000 gallons of fuel rolled over and burst into flames while navigating an I-95 North on-ramp from the Fairfax County Parkway.
Unfortunately, truck accidents on on-ramps and off-ramps are not uncommon. Why? Let’s take a closer look:
• Speed and off-ramps. Commercial trucks are bigger and harder to maneuver than other vehicles and for this reason it is especially important for them to obey the speed limit and driver with care on ramps. If a trucker is speeding or driving recklessly, an on-ramp or off-ramp can easily lead to a tip over or roll over accident.
• Dangers of on-ramp curves. On-ramp and off-ramp curves can be difficult for even the smaller cars and vehicles on the road – for long, heavy, and wide trucks, the curves presented by ramps can cause a driver to lose control. Combining a sharply curved ramp, speeding, and a commercial truck can easily lead to an accident.
• Off-ramps and improperly loaded trucks. Sometimes the danger of a truck is invisible from the outside. If a tractor-trailer is not properly loaded, if its load is not properly tied down, or if the load is unbalanced, an off-ramp or on-ramp can lead to disaster. When the truck attempts to drive around the curve of a ramp, its load could fall or shift, causing the truck to lose control.
• Merging and traffic near off-ramps and on-ramps. One of the biggest dangers of on-ramps and off-ramps is that they inevitably involve merging onto other roads – sometimes roads with very fast moving traffic. Traffic can slow considerably on off-ramps, which can lead to rear-end accidents, while merging onto busy interstates from on-ramps can be equally as dangerous.