You probably know the term “blind spot” if you’re a licensed driver. When someone talks about a blind spot, they mean an area around the vehicle that you can’t see when you’re driving. With most cars, you have a blind spot to your immediate left that you can’t see with any of your mirrors.
If you want to check your blind spot, you must glance over it quickly. That’s how you can tell if there’s a vehicle or an object there if you need to switch lanes.
However, there are larger vehicles on the road, like commercial trucks that haul goods across the country. These massive eighteen-wheelers also have blind spots. Since they are so much larger, though, it makes sense that they should have more sizable blind spots than a family sedan.
In this article, we’ll talk a little about commercial truck blind spots and why you need to be aware of them.
The Four Typical Truck Blind Spots
With most trucks, you have to deal with four blind spots. Those are the front, left, right, and back. We’ll start by talking about the rear.
With the rear blind spot, a truck can spot you 30 feet behind them or more, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. If you’re closer than that, you’re tailgating the truck, which is something you should never do.
The truck driver cannot see your vehicle back there, and if they stop suddenly, you can run into their rear. Since they’re so much bigger than you, you’re going to end up with much more damage than they are.
If you’re on a truck’s left side, and you are under the driver’s cab mirror, that’s a blind spot as well. You need to try to move out of that position as quickly as possible unless traffic conditions ahead prevent you from doing that.
On the right side, the driver cannot see if you are under the cab’s right-side mirror. Like being on the left, you need to get out of that position as fast as possible to avoid an accident.
Finally, if you’re ahead of a large truck, the driver cannot see you if you’re less than approximately 20 feet from the front fender. If an eighteen-wheeler is going at 65 miles per hour, it takes two full football fields to stop completely. Keep that in mind if you’re ever around a truck on the highway.
How Can You Keep From Having A Truck-Related Accident?
If you’re around a commercial truck, there are some other things you can do besides staying out of the blind spots that we mentioned. You can keep to the speed limit and maintain a safe speed while on the highway.
That means not driving too fast, but it also means not moving too slowly. If the speed limit is 55, don’t drive at 30 miles per hour unless you’re in heavy traffic or there are poor weather conditions. Because it takes large trucks so long to stop completely, you don’t want to dawdle when you’ve got one right on your tail.
You can also use your mirrors and the naked eye to watch what the trucks around you are doing. Truck drivers have a responsibility to go to the speed limit and not change lanes suddenly or do anything else dangerous.
If you see a truck moving erratically, you should keep a safe distance from it. Whatever is happening with that driver, their vehicle probably outweighs yours by multiple tons, so getting as far away from it as possible will be your best move.
Are There Other Ways To Avoid Truck Accidents?
Other than what we’ve mentioned so far, you can avoid consuming alcohol or illegal drugs before driving. If you’re intoxicated, and you’re around commercial trucks, you’re asking for trouble. If you swerve when you’re next to a large truck, and you cause it to collide with your vehicle, it might not take more than a little nudge to send you careening off the road.
You should also signal a lane change every time you’re around a truck. We’ve already explained where the truck’s blind spots are, so don’t try to change lanes when you’re in one unless you’re confident that you can do so safely.
What Are Some Reasons A Truck Might Collide With You?
Even if you’re avoiding the truck’s blind spots, there are still ways that a vehicle that size can be dangerous to you. A drowsy truck driver can be one of the biggest concerns when you’re on the highway, especially at night.
Truck drivers need to take a break if they’ve been behind the wheel for too long. There are rules in place that indicate when an operator should pull over and get some sleep, but you can never be sure that a driver is following those regulations. That’s one reason why you should be doubly careful when you’re around these behemoths.
Also, you never know when something might distract a truck driver. Just like with smaller vehicles, you would hope that a driver won’t check their email or try to send a tweet while driving, but you can never tell what’s happening in that cabin.
Distracted truck drivers can be a danger as well. You might have one who sees the McDonald’s billboard by the roadside and decides to change lanes unexpectedly.
The best thing you can do when you’re around commercial trucks on the highway or city streets is to give them as wide of a berth as possible. That applies when you’re close to their blind spots, but also when you’re anywhere around them.
Certain traffic conditions are the times when you’re in the most dangerous around large trucks. Traffic’s flow might force you near an eighteen-wheeler, and if that happens, you need to create some distance as soon as possible. While you’re that close, all you can do is hope that the driver is sober, wide awake, and has their eyes on the road ahead.