How To Avoid an Auto Accident With an 18-Wheeler or a Semi-Truck
When you’re driving near a truck such as an 18-wheeler, it’s important to always be aware of when the truck driver can (and can’t) see you.
There are 4 main blind spots on an 18-wheeler which are located on each side of the truck and in the rear and front of the truck. The blind spots are commonly referred to as “no zones” because motorists should not drive in a truck’s blind spots. If you are not able to see the truck’s mirrors, odds are, the truck driver cannot see your vehicle.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has a video on YouTube that illustrates exactly where the 4 blind spots are and how to avoid them.
It is self-explanatory that drivers who avoid truck blind spots are more likely to prevent an accident. Here is the best advice on avoiding an accident with a big rig.
BLIND SPOTS IN FRONT OF THE TRUCK
A truck driver’s blind spot typically spans about 15-20 feet from the front bumper of the truck. So, when you’re changing lanes and you are trying to change lanes and accelerate in front of a large truck, make sure that you have more than 20 feet between your vehicle and the truck’s front bumper before merging in front of the truck. Also, indicate your intention to merge by turning on your turn signal as soon as you pass the truck driver’s door.
REAR BLIND SPOT
A blind spot behind the rear end of the truck typically extends about 30 feet from the trailer’s rear bumper. It’s never a smart idea to tailgate behind a large truck or to attempt to ‘draft’ in order to minimize wind resistance. Since trucks are large and heavy, it takes a lot of time for them to brake and come to a complete stop. Therefore, it is never a good idea to try and drive behind a truck on the highway. Some trucks have rear view cameras where the driver can see directly behind it, but most trucks don’t.
LEFT BLIND SPOT
The left side blind spot takes away the visibility of at least one lane of traffic on the left side of the truck. If your vehicle is in this blind spot, a truck driver may not see you when he decides to change lanes or make a left-hand turn. Most traffic laws prevent trucks from travelling in the far most lane, so if you’re trapped in this blind spot, it might be smart to accelerate and pass the truck on the left side.
RIGHT BLIND SPOT
The truck’s blind spot on the right side or passenger side is the most significant blind spot on an 18-wheeler. The blind spot covers at least two lanes of traffic on the right side of the truck. It begins at the truck’s front bumper and extends at about 20 feet from the truck’s back bumper.
If your vehicle is in the right-side blind spot, the truck driver cannot see you when he decides to turn right, merge into another lane, or exit the interstate.
Drivers on the road should aim to minimize the amount of time in a truck driver’s blind spots as much as possible. Here are some safe tips to avoid an accident with an 18-wheeler.
- Pass a large truck on the left side or driver-side instead of the right side
- Always use your turn signal, do not honk your horn to signal your maneuver
- Do your best to not break the line of vision between your vehicle and the truck’s mirrors
- Pass the truck as quickly as possible, don’t hang around the blind spot for too long
Car accidents involving large trucks are serious. Passenger vehicles almost always receive the worst damage, and fatalities are much more likely to occur.
If you or a loved one has been involved in an auto accident with an 18-wheeler, or some other type of commercial transport vehicle, GO TO HALE and call us at 941-735-4529.
Our offices are always ready to help you with your personal injury claim, and our services come at no cost to you unless we win.