18-Wheelers: Tips To Avoid Being Caught In A Blind Spot
You know the feeling, that nervous stomach flutter you feel when you find yourself traveling in a lane next to an 18-wheeler. If you’re smart, you steer clear of all big rigs, but at some point, you’re bound to end up next to one, as there are an estimated 2 million 18-wheelers in operation across the United States today.
Truck drivers have a reputation for driving carelessly, hogging the roads, but what we don’t realize is that 18-wheelers have a number of blind spots.
It is important to understand where these blind spots are located and to stay out of these so-called “danger zones”, to keep your family safe and reduce your risks of an unfortunate event.
Where are the blind spots on a big-rig?
In the front- Due to the height of 18-wheelers, there is a large blind spot in front of most trucks. This blind spot extends about 20 feet in the front of the truck.
On the left side- The length of the left side of the 18-wheeler, extending across the immediate left lane.
On the right side- The length of the right side of the 18-wheeler, extending across the two immediate right lanes.
In the back- The blind spot in the back extends about 30 feet from the rear of the truck.
We all experience having blind spots while driving, but there is a great difference if you are in a standard passenger vehicle or an 18-wheeler. If you experience a blind spot in a standard car, you just have to adjust your mirrors or turn your head, and the blind spots will be eliminated. On the other hand, an 18 wheeler has blind spots that run the entire side length of the vehicle and sometimes multiple lanes. The truck driver will not be able to see a huge area around his truck no matter how the mirrors are adjusted.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), an estimated 438,000 reported traffic accidents involved “large trucks” during 2014. The NHTSA considers a large truck to weigh more than 10,000 pounds; nearly all 18-wheeler trucks weigh more than 10,000 pounds.
Tips to avoid being in a blind spot
It takes an 18-wheeler 40 percent longer to stop than an average car or pickup truck. If you are traveling in front of an 18-wheeler, change lanes when it is safe to do so.
Don’t remain in a blind spot too for too long when traveling alongside a big truck. Either move faster to pass them if you are in the left lane, or slow down to let the truck pass you.
Don’t pass on the right. Although both sides have large blind spots, truckers expect drivers to pass them on the left side. They are more likely to move into a right lane, which may result in a collision for motorists attempting to pass on that side.
Do not tailgate as the truck driver may not be aware you are behind them. If you were to rear-end them, your front bumper may not be high enough to block the rear, resulting in the 18-wheeler crushing your windshield and everything behind it. If the truck stops all of a sudden, it can end in a fatal crash or leave you seriously injured. Your vision of other vehicles on the road may also be blocked if you are tailgating.
Be patient. Keep in mind driving a truck is much different than driving a car. It takes trucks longer to turn and pass lanes. By driving aggressive and honking you are increasing the chance of a crash.
Don’t cut in front. 18-wheelers are much heavier than your average car so you must take precautions. If you cut in front of an 18-wheeler, you have placed yourself directly in a blind spot. The driver may not notice you, and if they do see you, they may not be able to slow down in time to avoid crashing into you.
Report dangerous driving. If you see a truck driver driving recklessly, it is important to report them. Most 18-wheelers have phone numbers on the back or side of their vehicles that are used to report dangerous truck driving.
After a collision with an 18-wheeler
These trucks have the potential to cause serious, life-threatening injuries and even death due to their massive sizes. Unfortunately, even after being as cautious as possible, the negligence of someone else may still put you in harm’s way.
If you were involved in a collision with an 18-wheeler, you first want to ensure everyone involved is okay. Immediately call 911 for help, however, be careful about making statements while you wait for help to arrive.
Never admit fault to anyone at the scene as it can be damaging to your case. Get the truck driver’s information including their license plate number and take photos of the scene, the vehicles involved, and any injuries.
These type of cases are complex, so you will want to contact an experienced 18-wheeler truck accident attorney who has experience in dealing with similar cases. A seasoned attorney will help uncover the truth about what caused the collision and determine who is responsible in order to seek the compensation you rightfully deserve. Don’t wait too long to contact an attorney as evidence is crucial for your case.
How The Carlson Law Firm can help
If you have sustained injuries due to a collision with an 18- wheeler, you may be able to hold the trucker and the trucking company accountable for their dangerous, negligent driving. Our team of attorneys, private investigators, and on staff nurses will immediately begin gathering evidence to help you uncover answers to your questions while seeking just compensation for your injuries and losses.
We are available to you 24/7. Contact us today! We care, we can help.
- Written by Adriana Torres