If you have ever driven close to an 18-wheeler, you probably know these massive vehicles have some serious blind spots. These “No Zones” can result in serious accidents. In fact, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports that thousands of collisions involving large trucks occur each year in the United States.
And unfortunately, some of these mishaps result in fatalities. In such unfortunate events or in case of injury, Grossman Attorneys at Law can help you or your family determine the appropriate course of action.
Most accidents involving 18-wheelers are caused by drivers unaware of the blind spots on these trucks and attempt to pass or change lanes without first checking to see if it is safe. But that’s not to say that truck drivers are not to blame sometimes.
So, what exactly are these blind spots? And how can you avoid them as a car driver? Read on to learn more.
A Truck’s Blind Spots
Although every vehicle has blind spots, 18-wheeler truck trailers have more pronounced “no zones” based on their sheer size. Basically, a blind spot is an area around a vehicle where the driver has limited visibility. Here are the four main blind spots on an 18-wheeler:
- Up to 20 feet in front of the truck
- Directly behind the truck- extending about 20-30 feet.
- On the passenger side (along the trailer) and extending backward
- Alongside the cab- on the driver’s side and extending forward.
As you can see, these blind spots are pretty significant. Hence, car drivers must avoid them if they want to stay safe.
Tips for Avoiding an Accident in a Truck’s Blind Spot
Although a truck’s side view mirrors do an excellent job of eliminating some blind spots, they can’t cover everything. This explains why you need to take necessary precautions when driving near 18-wheelers. To this end, here are a few tips you can follow:
- Don’t linger in a truck’s blind spot. If you must pass or change lanes, do so quickly and safely. Tailgating a truck is especially dangerous as the truck driver may not be able to see your vehicle. It also implies you won’t have enough room to maneuver if the truck suddenly brakes. And without an escape plan, you might rear-end the truck, leading to serious injuries.
- Signal early when you intend to pass a truck. This gives the truck driver ample time to check his mirror and see you. Otherwise, it would be difficult for the truck driver to understand your intention. Also, check the road ahead to ensure it is clean before you move. While at it, note that you’ll be overtaking a large vehicle, so you’ll need more space than usual. And if you can’t see the truck driver in their side view mirror, most likely they can’t see you either.
- Don’t cut in too soon after passing a truck. You should give the truck ample time and space before returning to your lane. Failure to do so means you would end up in the truck’s front blind spot. Besides, if you slow down after overtaking, the truck might collide with your car.
- Avoid driving alongside a truck for too long. If you can’t pass, don’t drive parallel to a truck for more than a few seconds. Remember, the passenger side is one of the truck’s largest blind spots. So, you may get hit by the truck if you spend too much time in this spot, especially if they decide to switch lanes.
- Pay attention to a truck’s turn signals. Although truck drivers use their side view mirrors, their view is still limited. As such, they might not see you when making a turn. So, stay alert and be prepared to brake when you visit the truck’s turn signal. And since it takes a truck much longer to slow down or change lanes than a car, you need to give the driver as much time and space to make their move. In short, a little patience or road courtesy won’t hurt.
Seeking Help After a Blind Spot Car Accident
If you or a loved one is involved in an accident with an 18-wheeler, consider seeking legal help as soon as possible. A competent personal injury attorney can help you navigate the complex legal process and fight for a favorable outcome. They can also investigate the accident to determine the liable parties and help you build a strong case.
Next time you drive behind a large truck, avoid lingering in any dangerous areas we’ve highlighted. You can prevent a blind spot car accident and stay safe on the road by being proactive. After all, your safety is mostly in your hands.