The trucking industry provides a valuable service, delivering products and goods we rely on from places throughout the country. At the same time, the sheer number of semi-trucks and 18 wheelers on the road today can create problems for other drivers, resulting in an increase in trucking accidents and injuries. The massive size and bulk of most trucks is a common factor when these types of accidents occur, leaving automobile drivers vulnerable to injuries that can be severe and life threatening. In order to keep yourself and your passengers safe when on the road, it is important to be aware of trucking blind spots and how to avoid them.
Where Are A Truck’s Blind Spots
Blind spots, or ‘no zones’ as they are commonly referred to, are areas surrounding a truck or tractor trailer in which motor vehicles and their drivers disappear from the trucker’s view. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), semi-trucks and 18 wheelers typically have three specific types of blind spots that drivers need to be aware of:
- Side No Zones: These are large blind spots on either side of the truck in which a motorist will disappear from the driver’s view. The right side, which is opposite of where the driver sits, tends to be the longest and most dangerous.
- Rear No Zones: The area directly behind the truck in the truck driver’s lane is another dangerous area where visibility is extremely limited. Not only can the truck driver not see motorists following closely behind them, but these drivers are blocked from seeing traffic conditions or obstacles directly in front of the truck.
- Front No Zones: Due to their height, truck drivers often have difficulty seeing motorists who are directly in front of them. This could be particularly dangerous if you need to slam on your brakes or stop suddenly.
Avoiding Truck Blind Spots
The Motor Carrier Transportation Division of the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) advises motorists that, when driving, if you cannot see the truck driver or their mirrors they likely cannot see you either. In order to avoid being caught in a trucker’s blind spot, ODOT recommends the following tips:
- Avoid following too closely when driving behind a truck;
- At intersections, stay behind the white lines, which are designed to allow room for trucks making turns;
- Be aware that when making right turns, truck drivers need to swing wide and often go into the left lane in order to complete the turn;
- Allow plenty of room when switching lanes, and avoid passing on the right side;
- Keep a safe distance when passing a truck. If you cannot pass quickly, fall back some so the trucker can you again;
- Once you have made your pass, maintain your speed in front of the truck;
- Be aware that some cars may experience turbulence when passing or moving from behind a truck;
- If a truck is behind you, brake or signal early in order to give the driver plenty of time to respond.
Reach Out to Us Today for Help
If you or someone you care about is involved in a trucking accident, contact the Johnston Law Firm. Our experienced Portland truck accident attorney understands the serious damages that can result from these types of accidents, and can assist you in getting the compensation you need to recover.