The roadway system is an important part of the lives of everyday Americans. Staying safe on the roads can be difficult at times, especially when around the huge metal monsters we call eighteen-wheelers. Due to their size, semi-trucks pose a significant threat to other motorists. One of the most important methods of staying safe around large trucks is to understand where their blind spots are and to avoid them.
Semi Truck Blind Spots
Every vehicle has blind spots. Blind spots are areas of the car that are difficult to see from the driver’s point of view. Because eighteen-wheelers are so large, they more blind spots than other vehicles, and failing to avoid their blind spots can be more catastrophic. There are four blind spots you should be familiar with. Familiarizing yourself with these blinds spots can help you keep you and your loved ones safe on the road.
Four Zones of a Semi-Truck To Avoid
The front of a semi truck is not as easy to see from the driver’s point of view as you might expect. Being stuck behind a slow-moving truck can be agonizing, so passing them is a natural reaction. However, it is imperative that you do so safely without cutting the truck off. Trucks have a difficult time slowing down because of their greater inertia and failing to leave a truck enough room to stop may leave them with nowhere to go except into your vehicle. For that reason, do not immediately slow down in front of a big rig. The rule of thumb for getting over is to leave a gap of one car length for every ten mph you are going between you and any drivers in the next lane.
The right of a large truck is its biggest blind spot. Because the driver sits on the left side of the truck, they have a more difficult time seeing their right side. The amount of road they can see on the right is negligible, so it may be safe just to assume that they cannot see anything. It is important that drivers avoid the right side of the truck as much as possible. Avoid driving on the right of the vehicle even on wide-lane highways. Pass a truck on its left side if you must at all.
The left side of a commercial vehicle also has blind spots, but they are not as large as the right side. Therefore, if you must pass a big truck, the left side is the safer side to do it on. Do not travel next to a large truck unless necessary.
While it is not the most significant blind spot a truck has, moving directly behind a truck is still dangerous and should be avoided. The truck ahead of you will block your vision of imminent hazards and will inhibit your ability to slow down or adjust as needed. If you are directly behind a truck, they will not be able to see you either. They may need to attempt to brake suddenly, which puts you in danger.
Trucks make wide right turns
Truck drivers often must make excessively wide right turns. Their right turns may be so wide that they have to swing to the left before they can make the turn. During the maneuver, a truck driver’s seeing ability is reduced lower than their already poor vision. They may not be able to see a car between them and the nearby curb. An excellent way to tell if a truck is about to make a right turn is by their signal blinkers. If you see a truck making a wide right turn, the best course of action for you to do is to give them as much space as possible. Remain patient and wait for the truck to complete its turn before resuming normal driving.
A few other tips for driving around semi-trucks are:
- You should avoid only traveling next to a semi-truck. If you are beside a large truck, you should be attempting to pass them.
- If you are passing a truck, do it as quickly as possible. The less time you are on the flank of the vehicle, the less likely an accident will occur.
- If you cannot see the driver in either of their rear-view mirrors, you should assume that they cannot see you or your vehicle.
Even if you properly avoid all a truck’s blind spots, truck accidents will still occur. Even if all other drivers around a trucker are driving correctly, the risk of accidents is significant if the trucker is driving recklessly. If you or someone you know has been injured by a semi-truck and you believe that the crash was caused by someone else’s negligence, contact an Atlanta truck accident attorney right away. Our personal injury lawyers have the experience needed to help you receive the compensation you deserve.Do You Need An Attorney If You're Hit By A Commercial Truck?