As we continue our series on “Commercial Vehicles: Trucks and Vans”, it’s essential to address an aspect of driving that affects all road users but is especially critical when discussing large trucks: blind spots. Every vehicle has them, but for commercial trucks, these areas can be vast and lead to severe accidents if not acknowledged and navigated correctly.
Blind spots are areas around a vehicle that cannot be directly observed by the driver while at the controls. These zones exist due to the vehicle’s design, obstructions within the vehicle, or outside factors. For large commercial vehicles, these blind areas are significantly expanded, leading to the term “No-Zones.”
Why Are Blind Spots More Significant for Large Trucks?
Large trucks and vans, given their size and design, have more extensive and more numerous blind spots than smaller vehicles. These “No-Zones” are typically:
- Front Area: Directly in front of the truck’s cab. Smaller vehicles that cut in front of a truck and then slow down might disappear from the truck driver’s view.
- Rear Area: Directly behind the truck. Trucks don’t have rear-view mirrors like cars, so this zone is particularly blind.
- Side Areas: On both the truck’s left and right sides, especially alongside the trailer. The right side is particularly hazardous as the blind spot extends across multiple lanes.
The Dangers of Not Understanding Blind Spots
- Lane Changing Accidents: When drivers don’t realize they’re in a truck’s blind spot and the truck decides to change lanes, collisions are possible.
- Merging Mishaps: Especially on highways, trucks might not see vehicles already on the main road when they try to merge.
- Turning Troubles: Trucks, especially when taking right turns, might inadvertently hit vehicles on their right side.
Safety Tips for Navigating Around Trucks
- Stay Visible: If you can’t see the truck driver’s reflection in their side mirrors, they probably can’t see you.
- Keep a Safe Distance: Tailgating a truck puts you directly in its rear blind spot. Stay back for your safety and to have a better view of the road ahead.
- Pass Safely: When passing a truck, do so quickly and from the left side, which has a smaller blind spot. Once past, don’t cut in front too closely.
- Be Cautious When Trucks Turn: If a truck signals a right turn, don’t try to squeeze by on its right side.
Tips for Truck Drivers
- Regular Mirror Checks: Frequently check all mirrors to monitor the areas around your truck.
- Signal Intentions Early: Give other drivers ample warning before turning or changing lanes.
- Use Technology: Consider installing blind-spot cameras or sensors to help reduce the problem of “No-Zones.”
Understanding and respecting blind spots, especially when it comes to large commercial vehicles, is crucial for the safety of all road users. Whether you’re behind the wheel of a compact car, an SUV, or a massive 18-wheeler, awareness and caution can prevent accidents and save lives.
For additional tips for driving safely around large trucks or busses, take a look at the following document from the U.S. Department of Transportation by clicking on the link: Tips for Driving Safely Around Large Trucks and Buses.
Stay tuned for more insights as we delve deeper into the world of commercial vehicles in our ongoing series.
At Stillman & Friedland, our experienced car, truck, and motorcycle accident attorneys are here to help you navigate the complex process of filing a car, truck, or motorcycle accident claim. Contact our Nashville office at 615-244-2111 for a complimentary, confidential consultation, or chat with us and fill out a form. We will assess your case at no expense to you. We work on a contingency basis, meaning you only pay if we secure a settlement or jury award for you.
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