What You Need to Know About Semi Truck Blind Spots

There are plenty of large commercial trucks on the roadways of Tennessee. It can be intimidating to drive near these vehicles. One of the most important things you can do to avoid a crash with a large truck is to avoid their blind spots. However, that is easier said than done.

Today, we want to talk about what blind spots are and why it is so important for us to be cautious when operating around large trucks. Crashes involving large trucks are often much more severe than regular passenger vehicle crashes. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) says that a fully-loaded commercial truck can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. Compare that to the average 4,000-pound passenger vehicle, and you can see why it is important to know their blind spots.

Where are a truck’s blind spots?

You need to know that a truck has blind spots on all four sides of the vehicle according to the FMCSA. Theses are commonly referred to as “No Zone,” and they include:

  • Right along both sides of the truck (the right-side blind spot is larger than the left side)
  • Right in front of the truck
  • Right behind the truck

What can I do to avoid a truck’s blind spot?

There are several things you can do to avoid a truck’s blind spots, including:

  • Staying away from the sides of the truck. If you have to pass a truck, make sure you have a clear path and ensure the driver has not signaled that they are about to change lanes.
  • Keep a close eye on the truck’s signals and brake lights. The only way you know a truck is going to change lanes or is about to slow down is by watching their turn signals and brake lights.
  • Patience is the key. Trucks are not going to go as fast as most passenger vehicle traffic, especially on city roads. Be patient around these vehicles and remember they cannot maneuver as easily as other vehicles. Give them the time they need to slow down, speed up, and take turns.
  • Make sure you are visible in their mirrors. The old saying goes something like “If you can’t see the driver’s reflection in their mirror, they can’t see you.” This is absolutely true. Make yourself visible to them to say safe.

What can happen if I drive in a truck’s blind spot?

When you enter into a truck’s blind spots, the driver cannot see you, and you are at risk of having a serious accident. There are several types of accidents that commonly occur when drivers enter these blind spots.

  • If you are traveling directly in front of the truck, you run the risk of being rear-ended. Due to the enormous weight of these vehicles, a rear-end crash can be devastating.
  • By traveling in a truck’s side blind spots, you are at risk of an underride accident. These accidents occur when a passenger vehicle gets caught under a truck with truck’s undercarriage often shearing off the top of a passenger car.
  • By traveling too closely behind a truck, you could also suffer from an undercarriage accident by rear-ending the truck.

According to the FMCSA, approximately 148,000 people were injured, and 4,716 people were killed in large truck accidents during the latest reporting year. Please drive safely around these large vehicles and keep yourself and your family safe.