How to Stay Out of a Truck’s Blind Spots: 5 Steps
According the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 71% of people killed in big truck accidents are drivers and passengers of other vehicles (the people not in the truck). Likewise, 72% of all injuries are occupants of the other vehicles. This should not come as much of a surprise, given the difference in size and weight. Passenger vehicles do not stand a chance against multi-ton tractor trailer combination vehicles. Sadly, most of these injuries and deaths are preventable and many are attributable to blind spot problems.
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Understanding Blind Spots
New cars are now being designed with innovative and downright futuristic blind spot detection systems. But these are designed to help the driver of a passenger vehicle identify their own blind spots. This can help avoid hitting pedestrians and solid objects, as well as help with parking in tight spots. It can also help a driver avoid merging into another vehicle. However, it does not help much with identifying someone else’s blind spot. And it is the truck driver’s blind spot that drivers of passenger cars need to understand.
Where is a Truck’s Blind Spot?
NHTSA has long referred to these blind spots as “no zones” because they are the areas directly behind and adjacent to a large commercial vehicle that a car should stay away from. Large combination trucks (semi-tractor trailer) have large mirrors, but given the length and height of the trailers, the driver will always have somewhat of a blind spot. Here are the areas to avoid:
- NEVER TAILGATE A BIG TRUCK. Stay back far enough that you can see the truck’s side mirrors.
- ALWAYS TRY TO PASS ON LEFT. Blind spots are worse on the passenger side, so avoid passing on the right if at all possible.
- NEVER LINGER. When passing on the left, accelerate and pass, but do not linger on the side of a big truck, as there are large sections between the cab of the truck and the rear of the trailer where the driver cannot see you.
- NEVER cut back in front of the truck. Once you pass, try to put at least five or six car lengths between you and the truck before moving back over to the right. And signal well in advance, so the truck driver knows your plans.
- NEVER slam your brakes in front of a truck. The legal weight limit for most large combination trucks is 80,000 pounds loaded. That is a lot of weight to stop, even with air brakes and an expert driver. Basically, the rule is keep your distance if at all possible.
What to Do if You Are Injured in a Truck Accident
Large trucks tend to be involved in more serious collisions. Given the size and weight of big trucks, they tend to cause real devastation. If you or someone you love gets hurt by a big truck, do not trust the trucking company to do the right thing. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations are complicated, and not all lawyers understand them.
Contact an experienced Long Island truck accident attorney who knows trucking accident cases and knows how to protect your rights. With someone available to talk 24/7 and no fee unless you recover, you have nothing to lose by contacting an experienced Nassau County truck accident lawyer. Call the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP at (516) 358-6900 to discuss your case today.