Do you ever think about a semi-truck driver’s blind spots?
The blind spots for any vehicle are those areas of the road that we can’t see when we look forward or look in the rear-view or side mirrors.
The difference with the blind spots for a large vehicle like a tractor-trailer is that they are much bigger. To begin with, trucks don’t have rear-view mirrors because the trailer is directly behind the tractor and obscures that view. So a truck driver must rely solely on the side-view mirrors to see traffic around his vehicle. Even then, sight is limited especially for low cars because the truck driver sits up so high.
Cars and other smaller vehicles must take care to stay out of a truck’s blind spots to avoid a truck accident. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration even came up with a special name for these treacherous areas – a truck’s “No Zone.” The “No Zone” is the area where smaller vehicles disappear from the truck driver’s sight because of the limitations of the side mirrors and include:
- Behind the truck.
- In front of the truck.
- The areas on the sides of the truck.
- The area inside the truck’s turning radius – because of their size, when turning right, trucks must first swing out to the left and won’t see any car that slips into the right side area.
Share the Road Safely With Trucks and Avoid the “No Zone” Areas
- If you can’t see the driver’s face in his side mirrors, then he probably can’t see your car.
- Avoid driving next to a truck on either side. Either pass the truck quickly or slow down to get further behind the truck so you are visible.
- Never cut off a truck or other large vehicle like a bus by pulling sharply in front of them. Trucks need much more time and distance to stop than your car. Avoid pulling into the truck’s lane until you see the entire front of the truck in your rear- view mirror.
- Pass on the left whenever possible – a truck’s blind spot is slightly smaller on the left side compared to the right side. In fact, the “No Zone” on a typical truck’s right side extends the entire length of the truck and reaches out 2 lanes to the right.
- Remember that the truck’s “No Zone” also includes the front of the truck so drive well out in front.
- Drive at least 4 seconds – about 20 car lengths – behind a truck since the driver can’t see directly behind the truck.
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