Accidents involving large commercial trucks can result in devastating injuries and extensive property damage. Unfortunately, many of the accidents that do occur happen as a result of vehicles traveling in blind spots of the larger commercial truck. Here, we want to discuss the blind spots that surround semi-trucks as well as the steps that drivers could take to remain safe, even if they have to enter these blind spots temporarily.
What Are The No-Zones Around Larger Commercial Trucks?
Information presented by the US Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration indicates that large commercial trucks can reach lengths of more than 50 feet and heights of 14 feet. These are massive objects moving along our roadways, and drivers in traditional passenger vehicles must take caution to avoid blind spots. Every vehicle has blind spots, but the blind spots on these larger commercial trucks are much more extensive.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which is the agency responsible for large commercial truck safety, recommends that drivers stay out of the large truck “No Zones,” which are the large blind spots we just discussed. These zones around the truck are:
- Directly along each side of the truck
- Right in front of the truck
- Right behind the truck
A general rule, and a relatively simple rule to remember, is that if you can see the commercial truck driver in their mirrors, then they can see you. If you cannot see the commercial truck driver in their mirrors, then you are in a blind spot, and the truck driver cannot see you.
How Drivers Can Avoid Collisions in a No-Zone
Individuals who need to pass a larger commercial truck will inevitably have to go through one of the larger blind spots. Drivers should pass larger commercial trucks only when traffic is clear alongside the vehicles and only when they can do so relatively quickly in order to get out of the blind spot.
Passing a larger commercial truck should really be the only time drivers enter into the truck’s “No Zones.” It is crucial for drivers not to change lanes right in front of a commercial truck and not to remain in front of a commercial truck for too long if that is unavoidable.
Additionally, drivers should never tailgate a larger commercial truck. These larger vehicles often have signs on the back that warn drivers to stay back a certain distance, and these warnings should be heeded. Not only do drivers run the risk of having loose gravel on the roadway fly up and strike their vehicle or windows, but the consequences of sustaining a rear-end collision with a commercial truck can also be devastating.
Next time you travel around a larger truck, take some time to notice the rear underride guard, which is a metal bar put in place along the lower rear portion of the vehicle to prevent vehicles from sliding up under the rear of the truck in the event a collision occurs. This metal bar does not give away easily and is designed to stop a car. Any significant rear-end collision is still going to lead to significant injuries for those inside the traditional passenger vehicle.
Drivers must remain safe when operating around larger commercial trucks, and one of the best ways to ensure safety is by avoiding blind spots.