Driving alongside semi-trucks can be intimidating, especially when it comes to navigating their blind spots. These blind spots, also known as “no-zones,” are areas around a truck where the driver has limited or no visibility. When you’re on the road, it is crucial to understand these blind spots and take necessary precautions to ensure your safety on the road. Let’s discuss five essential tips to help you navigate semi-truck blind spots effectively.

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Why Semi-Trucks Blind Spots Occur 

An urban legend says semi-trucks have fewer blind spots due to their higher positioning. However, this is a myth. Semi-truck blind spots occur for several reasons when it comes to semi-trucks. The massive size and design of the truck create large areas where the driver’s visibility is limited. The height, length, and width of the truck obstruct the driver’s field of view in several areas, especially in the front, rear, and right side. These blind spots can make it challenging for truck drivers to see smaller vehicles, motorcycles, or pedestrians, leading to potentially dangerous situations on the road.  

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), semi-trucks have large blind spots. 

Navigating Semi-Truck Blind Spots 

Here are 5 tips to navigate around semi-truck blind spots: 

1. Be Aware of the No-Zones 

The first step in maintaining safety around semi-trucks is understanding their blind spots and where they are located. After all, being aware of these areas can significantly reduce the risk of an accident. Typically, semi-trucks have four major blind spots: directly in front of the truck, directly behind the truck, along the driver’s side, and along the passenger side. These semi-truck blind spots can extend up to 20 feet in front of the truck and 30 feet behind it.  

semi-truck blind spot graphic
Semi-truck blind spots can extend up to 20 feet in front of the truck and 30 feet behind it.

2. Maintain a Safe Distance 

One of the most critical aspects of sharing the road with semi-trucks is maintaining a safe distance. Staying at least four car lengths behind a truck allows the driver to see your vehicle in their rearview mirrors. Similarly, it is advisable to keep a good distance when driving alongside a truck, especially on the right side, where the blind spot is much larger. By giving trucks adequate space, you provide both parties with ample reaction time to handle any unexpected situations. 

3. Pass with Caution 

When passing a semi-truck, be cautious! Whenever possible, pass on the left-hand side, since the trucker’s blind spot on the right side is significantly larger. Before making your move, ensure you have enough space and time to execute the pass without rushing. Signal your intent early, accelerate smoothly, and maintain a consistent speed while passing. Finally, avoid lingering in a truck’s blind spot and use your turn signals to indicate your intentions. 

4. Avoid Tailgating 

Tailgating is a dangerous practice, especially when driving near semi-trucks. Trucks have limited visibility, and tailgating reduces their ability to react to any sudden changes on the road, such as if the truck suddenly brakes or encounters a hazard on the road. Allow ample space between your vehicle and the truck ahead—a good rule of thumb is to follow the “three-second rule.” By adhering to the “three-second rule,” you can provide ample space for yourself and the truck driver to react to changing road conditions. 

5. Make Yourself Visible 

Enhancing your visibility to truck drivers is crucial in preventing accidents. Use your headlights, especially during bad weather or low-light conditions, to ensure the truck driver can see you. Maintain a steady and predictable speed, as sudden speed changes may surprise the truck driver. If the truck driver can see you clearly, they can maneuver accordingly and take appropriate safety measures.

6. Anticipate Wide Turns

When driving near semi-trucks, be aware that they may need to make wide turns. Give them ample space and avoid driving alongside them when they are preparing to turn. This helps to prevent accidents and allows the truck driver to maneuver safely. You can pay close attention to any signals or indicators from the truck driver to anticipate their actions.

Foley & Murphy: Helping You Get Justice

Following these tips can help you and your loved ones stay safe on the road, however accidents can still occur.  When an accident happens, seeking legal assistance from a personal injury lawyer can be vital in ensuring your rights are protected and you receive the compensation you deserve. 

Foley & Murphy is a personal injury law firm specializing in assisting those who have been injured in a truck accident. Our expertise in handling cases like yours allows us to provide you with the guidance and support necessary to determine liability and seek justice for your injuries or the injuries of your loved ones. Contact us today