Driving alongside large trucks and vehicles is not uncommon in South Florida. However, many people are frightened when driving alongside an 18-wheeler truck for concern of being stuck in the blind spot of the driver’s view. Accidents occur with large trucks and trailers due to improper lane passing, inability to see surrounding cars, and other reasons. Understandably, motorists and surrounding vehicles or trucks can take precautions when sharing the road.
Our board-certified Boca Raton personal injury attorney, Robert Baker at Baker Legal Team, has helped thousands of clients recover compensation for their injuries caused by a negligent truck driver in a collision. Though it may be tricky to avoid a truck’s blind spots during severe traffic or poor driving conditions, some driving tips may help drivers avoid these dangerous driving situations.
What Are a Truck Driver’s Blind Spots?
Trucks are significantly larger than surrounding passenger cars and smaller trucks. Especially when carrying cargo, a semi-trailer truck is anywhere from seventy to seventy-five feet in length and can weigh approximately 80,000 pounds depending on what is being transported. Since truck drivers are seated higher up from the ground, their viewpoint from side-view mirrors and rearview mirrors differs significantly from what other drivers in smaller vehicles may see. Even drivers in passenger cars have some blind spots for which they need to be more aware.
Blind spots are areas where a truck driver cannot see another vehicle or motorist driving, whether in the rearview, front, or long sides of their truck. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) explains that trucks have large blind spots, and the size and weight of a truck increase its challenges when maneuvering, braking, and changing lanes. It is dangerous to drive in a truck’s blind spot because it increases the risk of getting into a collision.
Common blind spots for a truck driver in a semi-truck include:
- Directly in front of the truck
- On either side of the trailer
- Directly behind the truck
Truck drivers and surrounding motorists can take precautions when operating their vehicles to make the roads safe for all drivers. When drivers of passenger cars understand the sizable blind spot areas of semi-trucks, they may be able to avoid getting trapped in these areas and being involved in a dangerous crash.
Tips to Avoid Driving in the Blind Spot of an 18-Wheeler
Driving on South Florida roads is a daily necessity for many people. Avoiding accidents and tending to the duty of driving responsibly and with caution is the responsibility of all drivers who share the road. Here are a few tips on how to avoid driving in the blind spot of an 18-wheeler truck:
Give Yourself Room When Driving Near a Truck
A vital tip many drivers forget when sharing the road is to give themselves enough room between cars, especially when approaching semi-trucks. Driving at least 30-40 feet behind or in front of a large vehicle can help you avoid being directly in their blind spot. Many drivers naturally avoid large trucks because they cannot see beyond them, but avoiding blind spots when stuck in traffic or on highways can be challenging. Some commercial vehicles have stickers and symbols that help surrounding drivers identify that they may be in a blindspot. Giving yourself enough room helps you break on time and avoid being caught in a bad traffic accident.
Don’t Cut off a Large Truck and Abruptly Enter Their Lane
Though driving near large trucks can cause some tension on the road, it’s essential to make wise decisions that help you avoid getting into an avoidable crash. Avoiding getting into a nearby truck’s lane and cutting off the truck driver lessens the chances of them colliding with your vehicle for being in their blind spot or causing them to be unable to brake fast enough due to their cargo. Naturally, drivers tend to keep their cars away from trucks to give them room, and truck drivers are responsible for continually checking their mirrors.
Always Pass on the Left Side of a Semi-truck
Passing vehicles safely is essential to any driver’s responsibilities when operating a vehicle on the road. Avoiding swift lane changes and not driving too close to a truck helps you avoid getting caught in their blindspot. Passing only on the left side of a semi-truck helps you avoid being unseen when driving a small vehicle. Their visibility on the left is higher since the driver’s seat is on the left side of a standard commercial truck.
Don’t Drive on the Right Side of a Large Truck
A truck driver is seated on the left side of a standard commercial semi-truck. Driving on the right side of a truck decreases the chances of avoiding their blindspot and getting caught in a large area that may not be entirely visible to them. Especially when driving for long periods, truck drivers may assume there is no surrounding vehicle and attempt to change lanes or make a turn. A serious accident can occur without enough room or if a vehicle gets caught next to the truck while it’s turning. Large semi-trucks need enough space to make sharp turns and make a u-turn. Truck drivers are also responsible for stopping appropriately and signaling when changing lanes and making turns.
Speak With an Expert Florida Truck Accident Injury Attorney From Baker Legal Team
Driving and maneuvering a large truck is not an easy job, but these drivers are trained and have a duty to prevent avoidable accidents and collisions. Many truck driving companies fail to comply with adequate training requirements, truck maintenance, and neglecting employee labor rights that help the 32,000 truck accidents in Florida each year. At Baker Legal Team, our truck accident lawyer may be able to help you file a claim and recover the total compensation that is owed to you due to the liable party’s negligence. To schedule a free consultation, complete a contact form or give us a call at (561) 320-0000.