Tractor Trailer Blind Spots and How to Avoid Them

All vehicles large and small have blind spots, but larger vehicles have gigantic blind spots. Blind spots for 80,000-pound fully loaded tractor trailers can encompass entire vehicles, so a driver of a 3,000 to 4,000 pound personal vehicle who happens to be driving in a big truck’s blind spot can easily get lost. And unfortunately, if an incident occurs between a tractor trailer and a personal auto, guess which vehicle wins? And the results are often deadly.Browse this site and  find more answers here.18

Of the fatal accidents involving a tractor trailer and a personal vehicle, a huge 86 percent of those fatalities were not occupants of the truck. How can a personal vehicle driver protect themselves on the road? Defensive driving is key and if drivers learn tractor trailers’ blind spots, or “no zone” areas, they will be better prepared when sharing the highways with these monster vehicles.

Blind Spot No. 1: Rear of the Truck. Rear-view mirrors aid in revealing what drives behind you, but the mirrors can’t show all. If you-the driver of the personal vehicle-cannot safely pass the truck, then give the vehicle wide berth and don’t tailgate. As a rule of thumb, keep at least 2 seconds of distance (or approximately one vehicle length for every 5 mph of speed) between you and the truck in front of you, more distance if driving conditions warrant it.

Blind Spot No. 2: Front of the Truck. A truck driver sits high off the road, which limits vision. Thus, a tractor trailer could tailgate your little personal vehicle and may not even know about it! Try to keep as much distance between you and the tractor trailer. Also, if you need to cut in front of a tractor trailer, make sure to get far ahead of the truck. Quickly cutting in front of a tractor trailer may cause the driver to slam on the brakes, which could shift an improperly secured load and subsequently topple the trailer.

Blind Spots No. 3 and 4: The Left and Right Sides of the Truck. Tractor trailers have enormous blind spots on the left and right sides of the vehicle. “Fisheyes” on the side mirrors help drivers see their blind spots, but they also distort distances. Often, accidents involving tractor trailers are caused by truck drivers changing from one lane into another lane-that happened to be occupied by a personal vehicle!17

To avoid these side blind spots, keep your time driving next to big trucks to a minimum – pass the vehicle within a few seconds or stay behind at a great distance. Before passing a tractor trailer, verify that its turn signal isn’t indicating a possible lane change. Watch for “drift” – make sure the vehicle isn’t crossing the lines to change their lane to yours.

Right or left hand turns are especially tricky for big commercial trucks. When large trucks make right turns, often they must compensate for the difficulty of the turn by swinging the truck to the left. If your car is on the truck’s left, the truck may cross into your lane while making the turn, and wind up squeezing your car or other cars out of lanes, off of the road, or into walls or other vehicles. Again, watch for turn signals and drift. Do not attempt to squeeze pass a truck when its navigating any type of turn, simply stay far behind it.