Driving a truck is a dangerous business. Truck drivers face unique challenges because of their vehicles’ size and inability to quickly correct their speed or direction. Further, semi trucks have massive blind spots on all sides of their vehicle. A blind spot is an area where the driver cannot see you.
If you are driving in a semi truck’s blind spot, it could put you in unnecessary danger. Avoiding a semi truck’s blind spot will help prevent a devastating accident.
Where Is a Semi Truck’s Blind Spot?
Any number of factors could contribute to a truck accident—blind spots, in particular, increase the risk of an accident. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), one-third of all crashes between large trucks and cars occur due to blind spots.
Types and Locations of Truck Blind Spots
The smartest move you can make to avoid a truck accident is to avoid driving in a semi truck’s blind spot. A truck’s blind spots encompass all sides of the vehicle:
- Directly in front of the truck,
- Two lanes to the right of the truck (from the front of the truck to the back of the trailer),
- Directly to the left of the truck (from the cab door to behind the door), and
- Directly behind the truck.
If a truck stops suddenly, merges into your lane, or maneuvers without knowing you are there, the result can be serious.
Size and Safety Considerations.
Trucks are often 20 to 30 times heavier than passenger vehicles, causing them to accelerate more slowly uphill and gain speed quickly going downhill. Large vehicles also generate wind gusts that can push smaller vehicles into other lanes. It is also possible that a smaller vehicle can get pushed or pulled under a commercial vehicle with high ground clearance.
The sheer length and height of a semi-truck, the windshield, and the dashboard design all contribute to blind spots
What Can You Do to Avoid Driving in a Semi Truck’s Blind Spot?
Avoiding a truck’s blind spot may not always be possible. However, there are various steps you can take to minimize the risk of an accident if it’s unavoidable. The easiest rule of thumb to remember is the bigger the truck, the bigger the blind spot. Another rule of thumb is if you can’t see a driver’s face through the truck’s rear-view or side mirror, the driver can’t see you. In addition to these easy-to-remember tips, here are a few steps to take every time you might be on the road with a semi-truck.
Avoid Blind Spots While Passing
When passing a truck, being mindful of the right and left-sided blind spots will help prevent an even worse accident involving a truck. Don’t linger in the side blind spots when preparing to pass.
If you pass in front of the truck, leave 40-50 feet between you and the front of the truck, ensuring you clear their front blind spot.
If you choose to move behind the truck, understand that they can’t see you if you follow too closely. Truck cabs don’t have rear-view mirrors. If they break suddenly, you could be in a rear-end accident and suffer serious injuries.
Give Trucks Turning Room
If you pull up next to a semi-truck at a stop light and the truck turns with you, it’s good to remember that they make very wide turns. Making turns in a double-turn lane is inherently a little nerve-racking, but having to turn with a truck is even worse. Executing your turn in a way that avoids a collision is important. Ensuring the truck has plenty of room to turn is key to making you and the truck driver feel safe. The safest thing to do is wait until the truck turns before making your turn. If it’s painful to wait at a green light, keep in mind the truck will only take a few seconds to turn.
Adjust Your Mirrors
Before hitting the road, it is a good habit to adjust your mirrors. Knowing you might be on the road with semi trucks is a good reason to do so. When adjusting your mirrors, position the rear-view mirror so that the mirror covers your back vision. Adjust the left-side mirror so you can partially see your car’s left side and the road. Do the same for the right side.
Don’t Hesitate to Act
The Harris Law Firm, PLLC is a member of the Association of Plaintiff Interstate Trucking Lawyers of America. Our attorneys understand that accidents are not always avoidable and can change your life in an instant. If you were in a truck accident, we encourage you to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with our law offices as soon as possible. Reach us online or call 662-262-6336 today.