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Understanding Truck Blind Spots for Road Safety

By Butler Prather LLP on November 20, 2017

Driving presents many risks those behind the wheel need to manage, one of them being blind spots, or the area of a car that can be difficult to see using mirrors. Being aware of blind spots is critical when driving near trucks, which have more and larger blind spots than the average car. This can result in some very nasty trucking accidents. Here’s more you need to know about blind spots for trucks and what liability truck drivers can face in the event of an accident.

How Many Blind Spots are on a Truck?

Owing to their size, trucks have extremely limited visibility at certain key points called “no-zones.” With a length of 70 to 80 feet, sometimes as much as 105 feet, drivers of these machines have very poor visibility along their sides, directly behind them, and in front of and to the right of the truck. While the driver is in a position that would seem like a great place to spot cars, the sharp angles may create spots where small cars can vanish from a driver’s view. Additionally, owing to the trailer, drivers have little visibility on what’s behind them.

What  Can I Do As a Car Driver around Trucks on the Road?

Non-commercial drivers carry the blame in 80 percent of accidents involving a truck. With glaring blind spots on trucks, drivers of other cars must adapt their driving habits to compensate for these inherent weaknesses. As the driver of another car, make sure you do not cut off a truck. These vehicles require much more space to stop, and moving into that space creates the risk of the truck smashing into the back of a car.

When passing, move deliberately and swiftly. You are at risk most of the time you are passing the truck, and doing so slowly exposes you further to potential accidents. Stay within the confines of the law, but pass with confidence. Avoid passing on the right; the blind post on that side is much larger and extends out three lanes. Finally, make sure you trail a truck much farther back than you would a car. If you can’t see the truck’s side mirrors, you’re too close.

How Can Truck Drivers Ensure Safety on the Road?

Truck drivers need to help car drivers avoid accidents, as their options are much more limited than those driving other vehicles. To help you manage your blind spots, consider attaching extra warning signs to your truck to highlight where a blind spot is. You may also add additional mirrors to your truck to extend your visibility for the sides. If you have a driver traveling on your side, consider slowing down to let him or her pass. Remaining alert increases your options as well. Several accessories exist that you can add to give you audible warnings alerting you to danger. Back-up sensors and wide-angle cameras give you more awareness of your surroundings than simple mirrors. A set of front sensors can help you spot a car that’s drifting into your front blind spot.

As a driver of any type of roadway vehicle, practice safe driving and exercise common sense when interacting with other cars on the road, especially if you drive on highways where trucks are common. These vehicles pose significant risks to drivers on the road, which smart and safe driving practices can help mitigate.

Posted in: Truck Accidents

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