A fully loaded, 80-ft long 18-wheeler can weigh up to 80,000 lbs. That’s a 40-ton massive hunk of metal that you will want to avoid when traveling down the highway.
Given the size and weight of commercial rigs, they are challenging for truckers to maneuver, require more time to stop, and have several large blind spots in which the trucker has zero visibility. It’s essential for surrounding road users to know the truckers’ blind spots (aka no-zones), and to make a conscious effort to stay out of them.
Semi-trucks have four blind spots that all road users should know.
●Left side: From the door on the truckers’ cab backward and at an angle toward the middle of the trailer, truck drivers have no visibility
● Right side: On the passenger side of a rig, the blind spot extends from the front of the truck all the way to the back. This no-zone also extends up to three lanes over. Driving anywhere alongside a truck on its right side is unsafe. Also avoid squeeze play which is when a passenger car sees a truck appear to pull left and he/she speeds up alongside the right of the truck, but then is squeezed between the truck and the median or edge of road because the truck was actually swinging its cab left to prepare for a right turn.
● Behind the truck: There is no rear view mirror on a semi. Truckers have no way of seeing what’s directly behind them. The rear no zone extends up to 100 feet behind the trailer.
● In front of the truck: Truckers also have no visibility directly in front of their bumpers; their cab blocks the view. Small cars in the front no-zone are completely hidden from the truckers’ view.
Staying Clear of Blind Spots
Exercising caution and taking steps to avoid traveling in truckers’ blind spots will help prevent devastating accidents.
Below are a few simple things you can do to avoid a blind spot-related trucking accident.
- Avoid tailgating. Always keep a safe distance behind. If the trucker stops short or backs up, you want to be nowhere near the rear no-zone.
- When travelling near a rig, try to make sure can always see the trucker’s face in their side mirrors. If you can see his face, he can likely see you too.
- When a truck driver is behind you, make sure you keep a safe distance ahead. If a truck driver is tailgating you, move over to another lane or pull over and let him/her go ahead of you. You might also consider calling the trucking company to report the trucker’s dangerous driving.
- Pass with extreme care. Only pass when safe, never pass on a trucker’s right, and avoid cutting a trucker off.
- Exercise patience. Harried drivers tend to make rash decisions, pass unsafely, or tailgate. Take your time so you can arrive alive.
More Articles about Trucking Safety
For more informative articles, feel free to check out the Cordisco & Saile LLC truck accidents blog. And for legal questions or concerns, you’re welcome to call our office at 215-642-2335 and schedule a consultation.