Large semi-trucks are a common sight on many roads, but many auto drivers
may not realize how dangerous these trucks are. Large commercial trucks
can weigh far more than your typical car, and are much larger, making
it a challenge for truck drivers to navigate through traffic safely. If
you find yourself sharing the road with trucks, you should be aware of
the hazards they pose, as well as how you can avoid becoming involved
in an accident with one.
Because of their massive size, trucks offer a limited field of view for
drivers. The blind spots caused by the height of the truck, the trailer,
and the sheer size of the vehicle can be quite large, and unaware auto
drivers can simply disappear into one. Steering clear of trucks’
blind spots can prevent accidents and can even save lives.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration estimates that approximately
4,000 people are killed each year in trucking accidents, and many more
are seriously injured. Knowing how to drive when sharing the road with
a truck may help you avoid becoming involved in a deadly accident.
The Blind Spots of a Semi-Truck
Unlike your car, the blind spots of a truck are large enough to completely
hide multiple vehicles in. Trucks have four blind spots:
Directly in front: This blind spot is caused by the hood of the truck, which prevents drivers
from seeing vehicles directly in front of them for quite a few feet.
Behind the trailer: The body of the trailer can block the driver’s view of anything
directly behind it, unless you are far enough back to be seen in the mirrors.
Left and right sides: The area next to the trailer has a blind spot that extends back and outward
across several lanes of traffic. The right blind spot is larger than the left one.
Avoiding Truck Blind Spots
Now that you know where the driver will have difficulty seeing you, you
should know how you can avoid these locations while driving and minimize
your risk. Here are some tips to help you stay safe around large trucks:
Never cut a truck off. The blind spot directly in front of a truck means that you will disappear
if you drive too close in front of a truck. When merging, try to allow
enough space between you and the truck so that you can see both headlights
on the truck in your rearview mirror.
Avoid following a truck closely. You should never tailgate another vehicle, but if you are following a
truck too closely, the driver may have no idea you’re there. In
addition to the driver not noticing you, you will have an extremely limited
view of the road ahead and will not have time to react appropriately to hazards.
Never pass on the right side. Passing a truck on the right side is not only unexpected, but very dangerous.
The blind spot on the right side is much larger, due to the driver’s
seat in the cab. This means that you will spend far more time out of view
when you try to pass on the right.
Don’t linger while passing a truck. Because trucks are often limited to slower speeds than cars, it can be
common to overtake them and need to pass. When passing a truck, it is
highly likely you will pass through a blind spot. This is why it is important
to pass quickly and spend the least possible amount of time in the blind spot.
Avoid being next to a truck that is turning right. Trucks require a wider space to turn, and will often begin a right turn
from much further to the left than a car would. If a truck is signaling
a right turn but is not in the right lane, do not pull up along the right
side. It is likely that you will be in the way when they turn, and they
may not see your car until it too late.
Be patient. Truck drivers need to be alert and careful when driving, which means they
may make movements less quickly than a car would. Allow extra space and
time to let the driver complete a maneuver safely. It may even save your life.
Driving can be dangerous enough, but with proper care and attention, you
can avoid dangerous—or even fatal—accidents. Try to pay attention
to the blind spots of trucks you encounter while driving and take extra
care to follow the above tips.
If you’ve been injured in a
trucking accident, you are likely facing significant medical expenses and hardships.
Michael J. Doyle, Attorney at Law is committed to helping injured clients
recover the compensation they deserve for their suffering. Our Albuquerque
truck accident lawyer is ready to offer you compassionate and experienced
legal counsel during your case.
Schedule a free consultation today!
Contact our offices by calling (505) 219-2176.