One of the dangers of sharing the road with large trucks is that, despite being high above the ground and equipped with huge mirrors, these trucks have massive blind spots. If you are driving in a truck’s blind spot, the truck cannot see you and your car; that poses an enormous safety risk and exposes you to serious crashes and injury.
Like most vehicles, trucks have blind spots on each side of the truck. If possible, avoid driving directly to the right or left of the truck – particularly the right side of the truck where the truck driver has an even larger blind spot.
Whenever you have to drive directly next to a truck, to pass the truck, for example, proceed with caution and pass the truck as quickly as safely possible. Make yourself visible to the truck as early as possible and alert the truck driver of your intention by signaling early.
The Danger Lies In More Than Just The Side of the Truck
The dangers of sharing the road with trucks extend beyond the truck’s side blind spots. Because of the huge size of a truck’s trailers, truck drivers don’t have the luxury of a rear view mirror to see behind them. Instead, they have to rely on their side mirrors to know what is behind them. For that reason, truck drivers also have large blind spots directly behind the truck. It’s important to leave plenty of space behind the truck so that you are visible to the driver. You may remember a good rule of thumb being posted on the back of some semi-tractor trailers: “If you can’t see my mirrors, I can’t see you.” Stay far enough back of a truck to see both of the driver’s side mirrors. This also makes it more likely that a driver will see your signal if you elect to pass the truck.
To the extent possible, it is also important to keep sufficient distance between you and a truck when traveling in front of the truck. Because of their huge size and weight, trucks take much longer to stop than a normal vehicle. When traffic allows, try to give the truck plenty of space in front to allow for that additional stopping distance. Additionally, make sure that when changing lanes in front of a truck to signal early and ensure that there is plenty of space to make your move. Aggressive or erratic maneuvers around trucks are not a winning formula for safety.
If you or someone you know is injured in a trucking crash, feel free to call Shannon Law Group for a free consultation. When investigating a truck crash, Shannon Law Group identifies whether the truck driver employed all of the defensive driving techniques he or she was trained to use. If a truck driver fell below the standard of care, the trucking company will be liable to pay for your injuries.