An accident with a large truck can be catastrophic. While it’s impossible to avoid driving near commercial trucks in Atlanta, collisions are preventable. The truck driver must do his or her part to keep other drivers safe, but you can take steps to protect yourself as well. One of the best ways to prevent an accident with a big rig is to stay out of its “No-Zone,” or its large blind spots. Follow these tips every time you’re near an 18-wheeler to reduce the odds of a crash.
Know Where the Blind Spots Are
Trucks have much wider blind spots than the average passenger vehicle. Because of the length of the trailer and the height and size of the vehicle, truck drivers can only see a relatively small portion of the road around them, using their mirrors. In 2016, 3,864 people died in accidents involving large trucks in the U.S. Avoiding the No Zone can save lives. If you can’t see the truck driver’s face in a side mirror, the driver can’t see you. The following blind spots make up a truck’s No Zone:
- Right side – Never pass a truck on its right side. Truck drivers have the largest blind spot on this side due to the position of the driver. Stay out of the largest and longest blind spot whenever possible. Do not hover in this area.
- Upper left side – The left side of the vehicle, near the cab of the truck, is also a blind spot for truck drivers. Pass a large truck quickly, avoiding staying in this area for long periods.
- Rear of the truck – Drivers can’t see you when you’re behind the truck. The trailer is simply too long. Never tailgate a commercial truck. If the truck must stop suddenly, you’ll have no warning since you can’t see around the truck bed. You’ll have nowhere to go.
The best thing to do when on the road next to a trucker is to maneuver around the truck as soon as you safely can. Pass the truck on its left side at a safe speed, not pausing near the truck at all. Don’t switch lanes in front of the truck until you can see the entire truck in your rearview mirror. That way the truck has enough time to slow down or stop to accommodate you. Use extra caution when passing large trucks.
Beware of Wide Right Turns
Wide-turn accidents happen when a big rig must swing left before making a right turn. The trailer will follow the cab at an angle, trapping a smaller vehicle if there happens to be one between the truck and the curb. This is a blind spot for truck drivers. Pay attention to a large truck’s blinkers. If the truck is making a turn, stay well behind the vehicle until the turn is complete. Do not try to pass the truck to the left or right. Give it room so the driver can safely make the right turn.
Stay smart when driving around large trucks. Leave trucks plenty of space, pay attention, and don’t drive distracted. Avoid the blind spots as much as possible to reduce your risk of an accident.