How Many Blind Spots Do Large Trucks Have?
Large commercial trucks are the biggest and heaviest vehicles on the road. The consequences of a major accident can be devastating, leaving thousands of Missouri drivers injured each year.
Due to their size and weight, trucks are far less maneuverable and take longer to slow and bring to a stop than other vehicles. Large trucks—commonly called semi-trucks, tractor-trailers, or 18-wheelers—also have major blind spots called “no zones” where truck operators cannot see passing cars.
Although truckers are always responsible for driving safely and exercising caution with their oversized vehicles, other road users should learn where truck blind spots are located to further prevent accidents. Knowing where blind spots are and staying out of them whenever possible creates safer roads, particularly when passing a truck or changing lanes.
If you are involved in an accident with a large truck, contact the St. Louis truck crash lawyers at Cofman Townsley to understand your legal options. You may be eligible for compensation if negligence contributed to your injury or losses.
Four Major Blind Spots
Commercial trucks have blind spots along each side of the vehicle. If you are driving through one of these zones, the truck driver cannot see you.
1. The rear of the truck
The most common blind spot occupied by cars is at the truck’s rear. Since large trucks tend to be slower and less agile than other vehicles, passenger car drivers often find themselves in the rear blind spot. Other drivers often don’t realize how long a truck trailer is or how much visibility the trucker has.
Some trucks alert other drivers of their rear blind spot through stickers or messaging on the rear of the trailer. This allows other road users to stay out of the blind spot and visible to the trucker. If the truck does not have messaging on the rear of the trailer stating where the blind spot ends, as a general rule, car drivers should follow with enough distance to see the side mirrors at the front of the truck. If the mirrors are visible, the trucker should be able to see you.
If not, the trucker may be unable to see your vehicle behind them. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the rear blind spot for a large truck extends 30 feet (about two car lengths) behind its trailer.
2. The front of the truck
The front of the truck also has a large blind spot, where the engine and front section impede the trucker’s view. This blind spot is approximately 20 feet long for 18-wheelers. Other drivers should exercise extreme caution when switching lanes or cutting in front of a truck, as the truck driver may be unable to see your vehicle move in front of them. The truck’s size and weight increase its stopping time significantly, which could cause a rear-end or a braking-related accident.
If you need to pass a truck, always wait until you are 20 feet or more ahead of the truck before switching lanes back in front of it.
3. The left side of the truck
The left side of the truck is considered the safer side to pass since it is the driver’s side. However, the trucker’s visibility is still reduced, particularly along the lane directly to its left.
Passenger vehicle drivers should never spend time in the lane to the immediate left of a truck unless they are passing. Driving on the truck’s left side puts your vehicle in danger for an extended time and also prevents other drivers from passing.
4. The right side of the truck
The longest blind side of a truck is along its right flank. You should overtake a truck on the left side and not the right when passing it. If you must drive along the truck’s right side, get out of the blind spot as quickly as possible. The zone extends diagonally across two lanes to the truck’s right and past its back end.
If you notice that a truck is turning right, do not attempt to pass it. Large 18-wheelers must swing to the left to complete a right turn. This maneuver makes the blind spot even bigger, preventing truckers from seeing cars that try to pass along its right side.
What to do if You’ve Been Involved in a Truck Accident
Truck accidents can be complex. They can cause catastrophic injuries requiring long hospitalizations and recovery periods. You may miss work or require additional treatments in the future. Your costs can quickly accumulate into thousands of dollars or more.
Expenses related to your injury, including medical bills, lost wages, and emotional pain and suffering, can be recovered as compensation in a personal injury claim.
There may be several responsible parties, making negligence more challenging to prove. Depending on the specifics of the incident, the responsibility of the accident could lie with the truck driver, trucking company, engine parts manufacturers, or maintenance and repair companies, or even a combination of the above.
Missouri recognizes a pure comparative fault law, allowing accident victims to recover damages even if they are partially responsible for an accident. While this is a claimant-friendly law, it can make compensation more complicated to determine because each party has to be investigated for liability.
Additionally, if you are found to be partially at fault for the accident, your compensation is reduced by the same percentage. That is why its important to hire a lawyer to help prove your fault in the crash is negligible.
Contact Cofman Townsley to Discuss Your Accident Claim
If you’ve been involved in an accident with a truck, contact the truck accident lawyers at Cofman Townsley for a free consultation. Our experienced attorneys will fight on your behalf to earn maximum compensation.