According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, passenger vehicles are the most vulnerable when involved in an accident with semitrucks. Trucks are about 20 to 30 times heavier than a passenger vehicle. They also need 20% to 40% more room to stop. In wet conditions, the clearance they require may be even more than that.
What can passenger vehicle drivers do to protect themselves when it comes to tractor-trailers and big rigs? Knowing the trucker’s blind spots may help.
What is a blind spot?
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, blind spots are areas around trucks that the driver cannot see or where he or she has limited vision. If a driver happens to be in a trucker’s blind spot, the trucker may swerve into that lane and collide with the car because he or she did not see the passenger vehicle.
That does not mitigate the trucker’s responsibility to check and double-check before making a lane change, as well as giving ample warning with signals to give drivers the time to move out of the way.
Where are the blind spots?
All four sides of the truck have blind spots. If a car is less than 30 feet behind a big rig, it is in a blind spot. Likewise, less than 20 feet ahead of a truck is too close.
The sides have large blind spots, as well. Drivers in vehicles to the right of a semitruck should try to keep at least one lane between them and the truck unless they are to the right and behind. Drivers on the left would also benefit from an extra lane, but they should keep in mind that the trucker’s blind spot extends across lanes, as well.