The trucking industry is essential to America’s economy because it transports nearly all essential goods, products, foods and merchandise to local communities. However, sharing the roadway with large commercial trucks transporting these goods is often inconvenient, especially when traveling in heavily congested traffic and tight urban areas.Many motorists, bicyclists, motorcycle riders and pedestrians are disillusioned when believing truckers have an advantageous perspective of seeing everything around them. In fact, truck drivers are well aware of several blind spots where the configuration of the large rig blocks their view in the front, rear and on both sides.
Statistics released from a 2007 large truck causation study conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration(FMCSA) showed that one out of every seven large truck collisions were the result of truck driver error. Out of all the accidents involving trucks in the U.S. that year, more than 20,000 were associated with blind spots where the trucker could not adequately survey their surroundings.
Typically, truckers use every available mirror on the large rig to view the road and see the positions of all other vehicles. Despite driving using the best trucking practices, accident still occur. This is because the blind spots on large semi-trucks and commercial vehicles make it challenging or nearly impossible to view pedestrians, motorcycles, bicycles and other vehicles.
Because of their height, size and configuration, large trucks have numerous blind spots or “no-zones.” These danger zones can be extremely hazardous when other motorists follow too closely, cut in and out of traffic, pass on the right or stop abruptly and unexpectedly. This is because even with the best adjustments when positioning side mirrors, “fish eye” mirrors and backup cameras, there is no way the trucker can completely eliminate every blind spot.
Avoiding a Trucker’s Blind Spot
Everyone sharing the roadway, intersections, crosswalks and sidewalks can follow specific steps to prevent being involved in an accident caused by a trucker’s limited view. Avoiding the truck’s blind spot involves:
- Locate the Blind Spot Areas on a Truck – A large blind spot exists at the front of the truck where the hood of the vehicle blocks an overall view of anything within feet of its bumper. There are additional blind spots on both sides of the large commercial rig that spans several lanes. A huge blind spot exists at the rear of the truck where the trucker loses complete view of anything too close behind the vehicle.
- Look for the Truck’s Side Mirrors – When traveling behind a large commercial vehicle, it is essential to search for the truck’s side mirrors. This is because if you can see the trucker’s face in the rig’s mirror, the trucker can likely see you.
- Never Tailgate – Staying far behind a large commercial vehicle is essential because its largest blind spot is the area directly behind the truck. At the trucker is unable to see you and makes a quick maneuver or sudden stop, you can easily cause a rear end collision.
- Be Aware When the Truck Is Turning Right – Trucks usually require one or two additional lanes when making a right hand turn. However, this maneuver often blocks the view of other vehicles, bicyclists and pedestrians on the truck’s right side. Never attempt to maneuver past the truck’s right side while it is stopping or turning to the right.
- Provide the Trucker Adequate Distance When Stopping – Motorists traveling in small passenger vehicles require substantially less distance to come to a complete stop compared to a large commercial truck. Because of that, it is essential to provide the trucker adequate distance when changing lanes or stopping abruptly.
- Pay Attention to the Truck’s Signaling Lights – In some situations, the trucker is unable to see anyone around them and will signal just before changing lanes or making a turn. It is crucial to pay attention to the signaling lights on the truck and remain patient while the large vehicle maneuvers into a new position.
By staying patient, following the rules of the road and understanding the trucker’s blind spots, you can provide the best protection for you and your family while traveling on the highway. The tips above can assist you in anticipating the trucker’s actions to allow you to avoid a serious crash involving injuries or death.