The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has some words of warning for drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians about commercial trucks and blind spots.
UNDERSTANDING THE SIZE OF BLIND SPOTS
Anyone who has ever driven a car is familiar with the concept of blind spots. There are just some areas you can’t see, even when using your mirrors and looking over your shoulder. With a commercial truck, however, these blind spots are much larger than they are in a car. The driver of a commercial truck has blind spots in every direction, including:
- In front of the truck, the blind spot can extend for 20 feet;
- Behind the truck, the blind spot can extend for 30 feet;
- To the left, a trucker’s blind spot can extend an entire lane, from about mid cab through the front half of the trailer; and finally,
- To the right, a trucker’s blind spot can extend two lanes, from the front of the cab all the way to the back of the trailer.
These blind spots are also referred to as “No Zones.” Other drivers, motorcyclists, cyclists, and pedestrians should stay out of these zones whenever possible.
SHARING THE ROAD WITH TRUCKERS
Because trucks have such large blind spots, drivers of cars should be careful when approaching and passing commercial trucks. As a general rule, if you can’t see the driver’s face in his side mirror, you are in the truck’s blind spot and he or she can’t see you. Consequently, FMCSA encourages passing quickly and efficiently. Even if you are on a highway or freeway with multiple lanes, drivers are encouraged not to spend their travel time consistently in the truck’s blind spot to the right or to the left of the vehicle.
Similarly, drivers are reminded trucks have a considerable blind spot behind the vehicle. Drivers should maintain a safe distance of more than 30 feet behind a truck.
PARTICULARLY DANGEROUS TIMES
There are times when a truck’s blind spots are particularly dangerous for other drives. When a truck is turning, backing up, or changing lanes, drivers of other cars should be particularly vigilant. In particular, a car should never attempt to pass on the right of a truck if the truck has their right turn signal on.
Even if a semi truck is not in the far right lane, the truck may be turning. Trucks often require a wider turning radius. An inattentive car driver may find themselves in a collision with a truck if they are in the truck’s blind spot on the right while the truck is turning.
IF YOU HAVE BEEN IN A TRUCK ACCIDENT
If you have been in a collision, you may be entitled to recover money for your injuries, pain, and suffering, medical bills, your lost pay (including lost tips and lost over time), as well as future medical bills.
And here’s what most people (including some attorneys!) don’t know: you may be able to collect from the owner of both the truck and trailer because they often have different insurance policies. And maybe even from your own insurance company.
But the law limits the amount of time you have to recover from your losses. Don’t wait. Contact the law firm of Frost and Kavanaugh, P.C. We offer free consultations. We look forward to speaking with you about your case.