Commercial trucks pose a serious threat on the highways, mostly because of their large size. Braking, turning, and other maneuvers are difficult for such huge vehicles, which can cause a truck accident without warning. The imposing size of tractor trailers also creates the problem of additional blind spots for the truck driver, who might not know that a vehicle is nearby until it is too late.
Where are Commercial Truck Blind Spots?
If you drive a noncommercial vehicle regularly, you know where your two primary blind spots are and can check them fairly quickly. Commercial truck drivers have a total of five blind spots that cannot be checked even if they wanted to; with no rear view mirror and side mirrors that are limited by the height and size of the vehicle, blind spots remain in virtually all conditions.
Blind spots for tractor trailers are:
- Directly in front of the cab.
- Directly in front and one lane to the right.
- Directly behind the trailer for several car lengths.
- Left and behind the cab in a cone-like area.
- Right and behind the cab in a large cone-like area.
Drivers who linger in these blind spots intentionally or unknowingly could actually be held responsible or partially liable for any resulting truck accident. It is imperative that you learn the blind spots of a truck for your own safety and that of other motorists around you who could be caught up in a crash.
Ways to Avoid Blind Spots
We have already established that commercial trucks are massive and control large portions of the road. With that said, you will reasonably need to enter a truck’s blind spot at one point or another. How can you do this safely and without increasing your risk of an accident?
Follow these tips to help prevent blind spot truck accidents:
- Do not cut them off: This rule applies for all vehicles, but cutting off a tractor trailer is even more dangerous. Trucks need more time and space to come to a complete stop. If you cut in front of one and hit the brakes, you are going to be hit from behind. You should also only move into the lane in front of a commercial truck after you get far enough ahead to see the driver up in the cab in your rear view mirror; this means you are far enough ahead to be visible.
- Do not linger: Most drivers travel 10 to 15 miles per hour faster than commercial trucks while going down the highway. When you are passing a large tractor trailer, try not to slow down. Just cruise by and you will be out of the blind spot in a matter of moments. Do not linger within a blind spot. If it seems that you cannot simply roll by the truck, slow down or change lanes when it is safe to be free of the blind spot.
- Left-hand pass: Truck drivers can see more out of the left side of their cab due to their positioning than compared to the right. If you need to pass a truck and have the option to choose the left-hand side, take it. You will exist in a smaller blind spot on this side.
- Do not tailgate: Once again, never tailgate anyone but tailgating a truck is much more dangerous. You should always be able to see both mirrors of a big rig when positioned directly behind it. Another general rule is to increase the following gap from the average three-seconds to four.
What to Do If You Get Hit
Blind spots are not excuses a truck driver can use to escape liability in a truck accident. If you are hit by a big rig, 18-wheeler, or any other form of commercial truck, you could be able to collect total compensation through a lawsuit or injury claim. Contact Rourke and Blumenthal LLC online to set up a free case evaluation with our Columbus truck accident attorneys today.