One reason why so many drivers like to drive SUVs and pickups is because they are higher off the ground and provide a better view of the road. So it stands to reason that many drivers would believe commercial truckers driving 18-wheelers would have the best view of the road. Unfortunately, this is not the case.
Large vehicles have large blind spots. Drivers of passenger vehicles have to show extra care when driving around big trucks because they may not be visible to the truck drivers. When you drive in a trucker’s blind spot, you’re at greater risk of being injured in a collision, especially if the truck driver attempts to slow down, speed up, turn, or change lanes.
Furthermore, because large trucks are more difficult to maneuver and take longer to slow down and come to a stop than passenger vehicles, by the time the truck driver realizes you are there, it may be too late for them to move out of the way.
By learning where the blind spots are on semi-trucks, you can more easily protect yourself on roadways by staying out of them.
Where Are the Blind Spots on a Tractor Trailer?
There are four major blind spots on a commercial truck: directly behind the vehicle, directly in front of the truck, and to either side of the vehicle extending out in a backward angle from the side mirrors.
Behind the Truck
There is a blind spot behind the truck for a length of about 30 feet, or about two car lengths. A good way of judging this is with the truck’s side view mirrors. If you can’t see the driver in their mirror, then they can’t see you.
This is one of the largest blind spots on a semi-truck, and an important reason why you should never tailgate a tractor trailer.
In Front of the Truck
The blind spot in front of a tractor trailer is about 20 feet, or slightly less than one and half car lengths, and an important reason why you should never cut off a large truck in traffic. If passing a truck, never pull in front of the truck until you can see the entire truck in your mirror.
If a truck is not keeping multiple vehicle lengths between its front bumper and your back bumper, there is a good possibility it may not see you, and you should attempt to change lanes if it’s safe to do so.
To the Left and Right of the Truck
Because the trailers on commercial trucks are so long, their side mirrors are designed to see what’s behind them more than they are to see what’s beside them, which can be a problem for drivers driving next to a large truck, especially since most passenger vehicles will be under the height of the mirrors.
On the left-hand side, the blind spot extends from slightly behind the left-hand mirror to about half the length of the trailer, and covers the lane immediately to the left of the truck.
On the right-hand side, the blind spot covers the full length of the cab and about half the length of the trailer in the lane to the immediate right of the truck, and from the front of the cab to about a car length behind the trailer in the lane two lanes over on the right.
Because the blind spot is smaller on the left-hand side, you should only drive on the left-hand side of a tractor trailer when possible, and if you need to pass on the right, do so quickly so you spend as little time in the blind spot as possible.
Have You Been Injured in a Truck Accident?
A fully loaded tractor trailer can weigh 80,000 lbs., and even an empty one can weigh as much as 35,000 lbs. That’s to say, getting hit by one can cause serious damage to not only vehicles but especially to people.
Truck accidents cause serious injuries requiring extensive medical treatment, which means they also require serious compensation for that treatment, and victims’ pain and suffering. Not just any car accident lawyer knows how to deal with the difficulties involving potentially multiple liable parties and insurance companies involved in truck accident claims.