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How to Avoid a Tractor-Trailer’s Blind Spots

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, large trucks are involved in 9 percent of all motor vehicle crash deaths.  One of the biggest contributors to an accident between a tractor trailer and another vehicle is when the vehicle is driving in the trucks blind spot.  Knowing where a tractor-trailers blind spots are and how to avoid them is the first step to avoid being in a truck accident.

Knowing where the blind spots are.

One of the best ways to avoid an accident is to have some information and knowledge about where the blind spots are on a tractor-trailer. Most standard passenger vehicles have two blind spots, however, a tractor-trailer has three general blind spots and sometimes a fourth.  Learning to avoid these danger areas can lead to safer trips for you, your family and others on the road.

  • Side no –zones – As you know tractor-trailers are much longer than the standard vehicle. That means that tractor-trailers have two extremely large blind spots on either side of the vehicle. The general rule of thumb that truck drivers share is that if you cannot see the truck drivers side view mirror then they cannot see you.
  • Rear no-zones – Many drivers forget that tractor trailers do not have a rear-view mirror to look, which means that they cannot see your vehicle if you are driving directly behind them. The general rule that if you cannot see the drivers side view mirrors then they cannot see you still applies, however, some drivers have gone a step further and have said that if you cannot see the drivers face in his or her mirror, then they cannot see you.
  • Front – While drivers can see in front of their vehicle, you should never cut in front of a truck. It takes much longer for a tractor-trailer to come to a complete stop than it does a regular passenger car or truck. At 65 mph, which is the standard speed limit on most major U.S highways, it can take a driver the length of two football fields to come to a complete stop. This means that even if a driver is paying close attention it can take over 525 feet for a trailer to come to a complete stop.
  • Wide turns – A trailer needs more space in order to make their turn, this means that a truck will make wider turns than cars. So be aware that a truck may need to swing wide either to the left or to the right to avoid sidewalks, signs, and utility poles, Drivers who stay aware and give trucks room will be safe.

Tips for Avoiding Accidents

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, “based on their numbers on the road and the amount they travel, large trucks (tractor-trailers, single-unit trucks, and some cargo vans weighing more than 10,000 pounds) account for more than their share of highway deaths. Large trucks have higher fatal crash rates per mile traveled than passenger vehicles, although a higher percentage of large truck travel occurs on interstates, the safest roads. Most deaths in large truck crashes are passenger vehicle occupants rather than occupants of large trucks. The main problem is the vulnerability of people traveling in smaller vehicles. Trucks often weigh 20-30 times as much as passenger cars.” By following some of these tips below you can avoid being caught in a truck’s blind spots.

If you have to pass a tractor-trailer given yourself plenty of space and extra time to pass – many people do not give themselves enough time to adequately pass a tractor, which often leads to them cutting the trailer off.

Avoid driving alongside a semi-truck – as noted in this article, a commercial tractor-trailer has a significant blind spot located on both sides of the trailer, this can mean that driving along side of one for an extended period of time can make you invisible to the driver.

Don’t draft or tailgate – you should always avoid tailgating another vehicle, however, this is even more prevalent and dangerous when there is a trailer involved.  A good tip to use is to give yourself three seconds of following distance between your vehicle and the car in front of you.

Allow at least one car length for every 10 mph you are traveling before merging in front of a truck. The faster you are going, the faster they are going. That means that not only will it take longer for you to come to a complete stop, but it will also take the truck driver much longer to come to a complete stop.

When passing a truck, never cut in front of them and then slow down. Drivers often complain that cars simply cut in front of them when they are driving. It takes a truck driver much longer to come to a complete stop and a driver may not be able to slam on their brakes in the event that you cut in front of them.

Give trucks plenty of room to turn safely. Because these vehicles need to make larger turns a passenger vehicle can get caught in the turn. You should always give a trailer more space to make a turn.

By following these tips you can stay safer when you are on the road. Always be aware of your surroundings when you are driving.

Contact Us Today

To schedule a private, no-cost evaluation, call the law offices of Reiff Law Firm Trucking at (215) 709-6940 or contact us online.

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