In many ways, the modern American economy depends on the work of commercial truck drivers. Over the last few decades, much of the railway infrastructure on this continent has deteriorated or been dismantled due to disuse. Additionally, transporting goods through the use of airplanes can be cost-prohibitive in many cases. Ground transportation is usually the fastest, safest and cheapest option.
Unfortunately for everyone else on the road, commercial trucks also pose a major risk to the public. The drivers of these vehicles are prone to mistakes, just like anyone else. There are also physical limitations created by these massive vehicles that increase the risk of accidents. One way you can improve safety is by educating yourself about blind spots around commercial trucks.
Give trucks space on all sides for safety
Some people are under the mistaken impression that because commercial trucks have large mirrors, the drivers can actually see all the way around the vehicle. That is absolutely not the case. While extra mirrors may provide some vision into blind spots, you should always assume that truckers cannot see the areas directly next to or in front of their vehicles.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration calls the large blind spots that surround commercial trucks “No Zones.” These “No Zones” include 20 feet in front of the cab, 30 feet behind the trailer, the entire length of the trailer in the lane next to the left side of the truck and two lanes to the right side of the truck for the entire length of the trailer. Staying out of these areas helps ensure that the person in control of that commercial vehicle can see you.
Blind spots factor into many crashes
If a commercial trucker cannot see you, he or she cannot avoid you when driving. This is important both on surface streets and on the highway. It can also play into crashes at intersections. In addition to blind spots, trucks often make wide turns. If you pull up into a blind spot at an intersection, a truck driver may not see you and may end up hitting your vehicle as he or she attempts a turn.
While operating on the road, driving in those blind spots could mean that the truck driver merges into a lane where you are driving or simply cannot stop in time if you pull in front of the cab. Staying out of those “No Zones” can reduce your risk and keep you and your passengers safe on the roads. Knowing the common causes of truck crashes and trying to avoid them can help you arrive at your destination safely.