When big trucks and passenger vehicles share the roadways, each driver has the responsibility to do their part in preventing dangerous semi accidents. Both must adhere to important safety laws and avoid actions that could affect the other driver. This means that those who drive passenger vehicles must understand where a truck’s blind spots are located and how to avoid them to prevent dangerous semi crashes.
Traveling within a truck’s blind spot is a common, yet avoidable cause of the many semi wrecks that occur every year.
Understand Blind Spot Location
Every vehicle has blind spots; however, those that surround tractor trailers are much larger than those of a passenger vehicle. Preventing semi crashes requires all drivers on the road to understand where these spots are on a tractor trailer and the need to stay away from them. These spots include four vulnerable areas as follows:
- Directly to the left of the driver side mirror.
- To the right and back of the passenger side mirror.
- In front of the truck.
- Behind the truck.
Smaller vehicles traveling within any of these areas can easily go unseen by the truck driver, increasing the possibility of semi accidents.
Prevent Accidents By Avoiding Blind Spots
Entering or driving in a truck’s blind spots is a dangerous move that is responsible for many semi wrecks. To safely share the road, drivers of other vehicles need to practice good defensive driving that includes avoiding these areas and also doing the following:
- Pass with Care - Drivers should proceed around big trucks with care, especially when passing. Be aware of the location of the four blind spots when going around trucks, signal early, then pass quickly to get out of blind spots. If a complete pass is not possible, fall back instead. Never ride beside a truck while waiting for a chance to pass as this increases the possibility of dangerous semi accidents.
- Avoid Tailgating or Cutting Trucks Off - Traveling too close behind a truck also puts vehicles within a blind spot, as does cutting directly in front of the truck when passing. Vehicles that suddenly disappear in front of a tractor trailer are in danger of rear-end semi crashes. Following too close could hinder a car driver’s ability to react to other things on the road or prevent them from stopping in time should the truck stop.
- Watch for Right Side Movement - The right side of any tractor trailer is the most dangerous side to travel. Never pass on the right and always watch for signaling or signs that a truck is trying to move over. Traveling in the right side blind spot can easily result in semi wrecks when a driver begins to maneuver their truck to the right without knowing anyone else is in their path.
- Leave Plenty of Room - Above all, drivers should always give big trucks plenty of room so that operators can maneuver as necessary without running into other vehicles. While this is not possible in every circumstance, leaving trucks a wide berth reduces the chance of entering a blind spot.
Truck Drivers Also Have A Responsibility
While the drivers of passenger vehicles do play a large part in preventing blind spot semi accidents, truck operators must do their part as well. This begins with knowing the correct way to adjust their side view mirrors in order to gain the most effective view. Additionally, the use of technology designed to detect when other vehicles are in a blind spot has proven to be very helpful in reducing these accidents.
By working together, tractor trailer operators and other drivers on the road have the ability to prevent the blind spot issues that lead to semi wrecks. Using good observation, defensive driving, and even some newer technology, all vehicles can share the road safely to prevent dangerous semi crashes!
Hildebrand & Wilson, LLP
Robert W. Hildebrand, Attorney at Law
J. Daniel Wilson, Attorney at Law
7830 Broadway, Suite 122
Pearland TX 77581