Be Mindful of Tractor-Trailer Blind Spots

Crashes with semi-trucks are often worse and more serious than collisions between two passenger vehicles. Trucks often weigh 20-30 times more than passenger vehicles, and that difference in weight and size can result in catastrophic personal injuries in trucking accidents. One of the most dangerous features of tractor-trailers is their blind spots.

Although you may think that semi-truck drivers have a more complete view of the road and their surroundings because they sit up high off the road, tractor-trailers have larger blind spots than most vehicles. A blind spot is an area in which a driver loses sight of other vehicles around it, and these areas are dangerous to be in if a big rig starts changing lanes. Besides being potentially forced off the road or into another lane, serious and deadly crashes can occur because of the blind spots of 18-wheelers.

Generally speaking, a tractor-trailer has a blind spot about 20 feet directly in front of it, along both sides, and up to 200 feet behind it. A good rule of thumb is to avoid being in a truck driver’s blind spot for too long. This means you shouldn’t switch lanes in front of a semi-truck too closely to the big rig. Additionally, you shouldn’t follow an 18-wheeler too closely because you never know when it might be forced to brake suddenly.

And when passing a big rig, use care, signal early, and pass quickly so that you aren’t hidden in the truck driver’s blind spot for too long. Not only is it smart to avoid being lost from the semi-driver’s view in a blind spot along the side of the truck, but high wind gusts can push semi-trucks sideways into adjoining lanes, and you don’t want to be next to a tractor-trailer if that happens.

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