What You Need to Know about Big-Rig Blind Spots
How many times have you driven down the highway getting ready to change lanes when you suddenly realize another vehicle is next to you seemingly out of nowhere? You instantly dart back over into your lane panicked about a near miss but feeling lucky that you caught yourself in time. That is what can happen when a vehicle enters your blind spot - the area around a vehicle that makes other vehicles, people, and objects seemingly invisible due to the angle of your view. This is why you are supposed to not only rely on your mirrors, but turn to look over your shoulder before making your move.
Truck drivers do not have the same visibility to see what is around them, making them more reliant on their mirros and thus making it more dangerous for any vehicle that comes near them. Because of this encumbrance truckers are supposed to be trained on how to safely maneuver to avoid causing accidents and injuries. Basically, any direction an eighteen wheeler has to travel it is doing so with a blind spot. That makes it very easy for drivers of smaller vehicles to become injured in a truck accident.
What blind spots do eighteen wheelers have?
In the trucking world, blind spots have been identified as “No Zones.” These are found around all sides of tractor trailers and because of their size the area of “invisibility” can be substantial. While they do typically have signage on them warning other drivers that blind spots exist, it does not alleviate the truck driver’s duty to act in a reasonable manner while navigating in traffic, through parking lots, or anywhere else you encounter them. The responsibility of truck drivers is great due to their capability of causing such devastation with the smallest error.
No Zones can be found:
- In front: Blind spots for semis can extend up to 20 feet depending on the truck. Smaller vehicles that are too close to the front of the truck can be crushed if they stop short and the truck driver does not know the car is there.
- In back: Tractor trailers have no visibility for approximately 30 feet behind the end of their truck. Anyone who approaches would be safer to do so from further back, and if you intend to change lanes, that would be a good place to turn on your signal to give the truck driver a chance to see you intend to pass.
- On both sides: Drivers have blind spots running down the length of each side of their truck from the cab and across up to three lanes of traffic on both sides.
What accidents can be caused by a truck’s blind spots?
- Rear-end collisions. These accidents can happen when a truck is stopped in traffic and does not realize a passenger vehicle is positioned ahead of it in the truck’s blind spot. When traffic starts to move, an oversized truck can rear end a smaller vehicle. A passenger vehicle can also hit the rear of a big rig that has changed lanes without noticing the lane was not clear due to the rear blind spot.
- Front-end collisions. These accidents are usually fatal and involve crossovers from one direction of the road to the other placing a truck into oncoming traffic. This tends to happen on highways where trucks are traveling at higher rates of speed, one loses control and causes a head-on collision.
- Side-swipe accidents. If a truck makes a wide turn it may need to first swing out wide in the opposite direction to have enough room to complete the turn. Vehicles coming up alongside the truck cannot always be easily seen, and could be grazed or crushed if the trucker needs to change lanes.
If you have been injured by a semi-truck, it could very easily have been due to blind spot negligence. The client-focused Los Angeles truck accident attorneys at McNicholas & McNicholas, LLP are ready to help you hold the truck driver and trucking company liable for your injuries. You may be entitled to the maximum compensation for medical expenses, lost income, and other damages. You can call our office at 310-706-2751, or each out to us through our contact page, to start the case evaluation process. Remember this blog is not legal advice, and every case is very fact specific, including yours. You can only get legal advice by talking to a lawyer about all the facts of your case. And, when it comes to driving, ALWAYS be safe and follow the rules and laws of the road.
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