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Semi-Truck Blind Spots: What You Need to Know

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Posted on June 1, 2023

Semi Tractor-Trailer trucks crowd the roadways in America, delivering our much-needed goods. While the freight industry is booming, and we rely on the goods and services provided by semi-trucks, these freight-carrying vehicles are large, unwieldy, and difficult to maneuver. They far outweigh ordinary passenger vehicles and cause serious damages and grave injuries in a crash. One way to minimize your chances of having a serious accident with a semi-truck is to understand why the very design of their vehicle leaves them with significant blind spots you should avoid when sharing the roads.

Semi-Trucks Have No Rear-View Mirror

You may not realize that trucks don’t have inside rear-view mirrors on their windshields the way standard vehicles do. Because of the large trailer looming up behind the cab, an inside rear-view mirror would show only the trailer behind the cab. Instead, truck drivers must rely solely on their side mirrors to see the surrounding traffic behind them.

What are No-Zones on Semi-Trucks?

The size, shape, and design of a semi-truck leave significant blind spots that drivers sharing the roadways should avoid. These blind spots include:

  • The 20 feet directly in front of the truck’s hood
  • Around 30 feet directly behind the trailer
  • 10 feet behind the cab on the driver’s side in one lane
  • 20 feet behind the cab on the passenger side covering as much as two lanes

Though it may be impossible to avoid these blind spots completely, you should never linger in any of them, but instead, seek to move away as soon as safely possible.

Don’t Follow Too Closely Behind a Semi-Truck

Avoid tailgating a truck or lingering in the 30-foot space behind a large commercial truck. Not only does this make it impossible for the driver to see your car except around curves, but it also makes it impossible for you to see in front of the truck. If there’s an obstacle, the truck driver will hit their brakes but you won’t be able to see the obstacle. 

Driving within 200 feet of the back of the truck may not leave you enough time to stop if the truck has to brake suddenly. Rear-ending a truck’s trailer is extremely dangerous and can cause significant injuries. It might also leave you at fault for the accident. However, when a truck driver changes lanes without first ensuring their blind spots are clear they are at fault in an accident.

Don’t Linger Below the Driver’s Window

A truck driver can’t see the area around 10 feet behind the driver’s side window. The height of a truck also makes it difficult for the driver to see a vehicle directly below their cab window. The driver may try to merge into your lane and cause a sideswipe accident, or swing to the left to make a right turn and force your car off the road or into another lane if you linger in this area and they aren’t aware of your presence.

What to Remember When Sharing the Road with Semi-Trucks

Avoiding lingering in a truck’s blind spots is an important way to protect yourself against a devastating accident with a much larger vehicle. Remember these safety tips to avoid a crash:

  • Keep a good distance from a truck whenever possible since they make wide turns and have large blind spots
  • If you can’t see the truck’s mirrors, the driver cannot see you
  • Always use signal lights when maneuvering around a truck or changing lanes
  • Be patient and don’t try to pass a truck in high-traffic conditions
  • Pass a truck on the left and not on the right where the blind spot is longer and wider

By practicing precautions when sharing the road with large commercial trucks, you can minimize the risk of a traumatic accident with serious injuries. Contact the San Diego truck accident lawyers at Haffner & Morgan today if you have been involved in a serious truck accident.