How to Avoid Blind Spots of Large Trucks
One of the many hazards that make large commercial trucks the most dangerous vehicles on the road is the No Zone, or the large blind spots on all four sides of the vehicle. If you find yourself sharing the road with a big rig in Louisville, do what you can to avoid the truck’s blind spots. This can help you prevent a catastrophic truck accident.
Know Where the “No Zone” Is – And Steer Clear
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration coined the term “No Zone” to describe an area around the circumference of a large truck that other drivers should avoid due to the risk of blind spots. Tractor trailers have enormous blind spots because of their height and length. An individual sitting in the driver’s seat of a large truck is unable to see certain parts of the road in his or her mirrors. Other vehicles located in these blind spots are virtually invisible to the truck driver.
A truck’s No Zone is located to the rear, front and on both sides of the truck. These blind spots extend approximately 30 feet behind the truck, 20 feet in front of the truck, one lane to the left and two lanes to the right. If you can, avoid driving directly behind or in front of a large truck, as the driver may be unable to see you. If you are driving to the right of a truck, you are in an especially dangerous location and should slow down or move ahead to stay visible.
Look for the Truck Driver’s Reflection
A good rule of thumb to use when avoiding a large truck’s blind spots is to try to see the truck driver’s face in the truck’s side mirror. If you cannot see the driver’s face, assume that he or she cannot see you and this means you are driving in one of the truck’s blind spots. In this situation, do not hover where you are. Speed up or slow down as soon as you can to safely get out of the blind spot.
Pass Quickly and Safely
If you are driving near a big rig, pass the truck as soon as you can. The best way to keep yourself safe is to leave the truck behind you. Always pass to the left of a truck, in the passing lane. Make sure you can see the truck driver’s face in his or her mirror before passing. Signal your intent to pass, then move into the left lane and accelerate to safely get past the truck. Trucks have to obey lower speed limits on Kentucky’s highways, which should make it easier to pass. Do not wait in the blind spot – continue accelerating until you are well past the truck. Do not get back over until the truck is visible in your rearview mirror and you have given it extra space.
Be Particularly Careful When Merging
If you are merging onto a road or highway next to a large truck or bus, be especially careful, as you are most likely in the driver’s blind spot. Adjust your speed to merge behind or in front of the truck rather than staying on its right side. Never cut in too close to a commercial truck. These large and heavy motor vehicles cannot stop as quickly as other cars. If you cut the truck off, you may be too close to the front of the cab. This could lead to a severe rear-end collision if the truck driver does not see you in time. It is also important not to come too close to the rear of the truck, as tailgating a big rig could make you crash into the back of the trailer.
If you get injured in an accident involving a large truck despite your best effort to stay out of the blind spot, contact Hendy | Johnson | Vaughn | Emery for help. Our Louisville truck accident attorneys can review your legal rights during a free, no-obligation consultation.