Many people believe that semi-truck drivers are bullies who hog the road. While that sometimes may be the case, the truth is that there are large blind spots in front, on both sides and behind a tractor-trailer. Because of these blind spots, the driver may not be able to see you, and as a result, can move over without knowing you are there, inadvertently forcing you out of the way.
It is important that everyone understands that there are such blind spots inherent to tractor-trailers in order to protect yourself and your family. Staying out of the “danger zones” when driving near an 18-wheeler can drastically reduce the odds of a semi truck accident or crash.
Locations of Truck Blind Spots
There are blind spots common to most tractor-trailers. These make up the “danger zones” near and around such semi trucks.
COMMON DANGER ZONES INCLUDE:
* 20 feet in front of the semi, as the front of the truck, can easily hide pedestrians and smaller cars from the semi truck driver’s view.
* On both sides of the semi, as the elevated position of the semi driver makes it difficult to see objects immediately next to the cab of the truck.
* 30 feet behind the semi, as the trailer itself, creates a large blind spot.
How to Avoid the Blind Spots
Truck Behind – If a truck is following you near your bumper, the driver may not see you. Additionally, it is important to know that big rigs take up to 40% longer to stop than cars and pickup trucks. This makes driving directly in front of a semi truck extremely dangerous as if traffic ahead suddenly stops, odds are that the semi truck will not be able to stop before rear-ending you. Consider changing lanes if you can do so safely and stay out of the danger zone of a big truck right behind you.
Truck Alongside– Driving beside a big rig for any length of time can easily put you in the danger zone of the truck driver’s blind spot. Consider moving faster or slowing down so that the semi truck is no longer beside you so as to avoid driving in the blind spot of the tractor-trailer.
Note that the blind spot on the left-hand side of the tractor-trailer (its driver’s side) is a much smaller blind spot than on the right-hand side (its passenger side). This is because the semi-truck operator’s head is closer to the driver’s side window, making it easier to see out and below the driver’s side door. If you need to pass a semi, consider passing on the left side when you can do so safely.
Truck in front– When following a tractor, with or without a trailer, do not tailgate! Not only might the truck driver not know you are back there, but your vision of other traffic will also likely be blocked as well.
Note also that the massive size difference between a typical tractor-trailer (which can weigh 80,000 pounds( and a passenger car (that usually weighs 4000 to 5000 pounds) is another reason to give the tractor-trailer a wide berth traveling the highway. Making sure to give extra distance and avoid the known blind spots of a big rig can significantly reduce your chance of being in a semi truck accident.
Contact an 18-wheeler accident attorney for a consultation
Contacting an experienced 18-wheeler accident attorney as soon as possible after a semi-truck crash is an important first step in protecting your legal rights. Many businesses and insurance carriers push to put the tractor-trailer back in service as soon as possible after a crash, which can deprive you of access to onboard computer data that can be critically important for your case. If you find yourself or a loved one in this unfortunate situation, you should call Oregon’s“go to” truck wreck lawyers at Dwyer Williams Cherkoss Attorneys.