Where Are the 4 Blind Spots on an 18-Wheeler?
Ryan Bradley | May 14, 2021 | Truck Accident
Large truck accidents are some of the most devastating traffic accidents on the road. Whether you call them tractor-trailers, big-rigs, or 18-wheelers, a large truck outweighs your vehicle by up to 75,000 pounds.
We must share the road with large trucks, so it is important to use caution when driving near large trucks.
Commercial Trucks Have Four Large Blind Spots
Commercial trucks have four blind spots. These are called “no zones” for trucks.
If you drive within these blind spots, the truck driver cannot see your vehicle. Therefore, the truck driver may turn or change lanes with your vehicle in its path.
It is important to know where a truck’s blind spots are located so that you take steps to avoid them.
The four blind spots for a tractor-trailer are:
Behind the Truck
There is a large blind spot behind the truck. Some trucks have stickers that tell you that the truck driver cannot see you if you cannot see the truck’s side mirrors. The FMCSA states that the blind spot behind a trailer is 30 feet.
In Front of the Truck
There is also a substantial blind spot directly in front of the truck. The blind spot extends at least 20 feet in front of the truck. Also, trucks need more space to slow down and stop, so driving directly in front of a truck can be dangerous, even if the truck driver sees your vehicle.
On Both Sides of the Truck
Beginning at the truck’s side mirrors and continuing down each side of the truck, the truck driver cannot see vehicles driving beside the truck. On the driver’s or left side of the truck, the blind spot extends outward for one lane, almost three-fourths of the way to the back of the trailer.
The passenger or right side of the truck has a larger blind spot. The blind spot extends outward for two lanes. It also extends past the rear of the trailer (see the diagram on the FMCSA website). Driving on the right side of a truck within this area can be extremely dangerous.
Tips for Avoiding Blind Spot Accidents with Large Trucks
Truck drivers have a duty to check blind spots when they are changing lanes. They must take reasonable steps to ensure there is not a vehicle or obstacle in their blind spot. However, some situations might make it impossible for the truck driver to see a vehicle. Therefore, motorists should take steps to avoid driving in a truck’s blind spots.
Tips for avoiding a truck accident include:
Do Not Cut Off a Large Truck
When you are cutting in front of a semi-truck, make sure you leave sufficient room for the truck driver to see your vehicle. Also, you need to ensure there is room for the truck driver to slow down should you need to brake for traffic.
Do Not Drive in the Blind Spots
Try to pass a truck quickly to avoid driving in a blind spot. Leave sufficient distance between your vehicle and the truck in the front and back so that the truck driver can see you.
Pass on the Left Side of the Truck
When you wish to pass a large truck, always try to pass on the left side of the truck. The blind spot on the left side is much shorter than the blind spot on the right side of the truck. Pass as quickly as possible to limit your time driving in the blind spot.
Avoid Driving on the Right Side of a Truck
Avoid driving on the right side of a truck when possible. Never pass a truck on the right side when it is turning. Trucks have a large turning radius. The truck could overtake your vehicle without the truck driver knowing what is happening.
Who is Responsible for a Truck Accident?
Truck accidents are complicated traffic accident cases. There could be several parties responsible for damages caused by a truck accident. In many cases, experts are required to assist with the investigation to determine negligence.
Parties that could be named in a truck accident lawsuit include:
- Truck drivers
- Trucking companies
- Parts and truck manufacturers
- Loaders and shippers
- Maintenance and repair companies
- Government entities (dangerous or defective roads)
A truck accident lawyer investigates the crash to gather evidence proving how the truck crash occurred. The factors that led to the collision help identify the parties who could be liable for your injuries and damages. Your lawyer also documents your damages and fights for compensation for the total value of your damages.