A Truck Driver’s Blind Spots and How to Stay Out of Them
The larger the vehicle, the larger the blind spots. Truck drivers’ blind spots are areas around the truck where the driver does not have a clear view of nearby objects. If you are in one of these four blind spots when a trucker makes a maneuver, you could be in danger of an accident.
Directly in Front of the TruckA truck's larger size and weight compared to passenger cars means it can take almost double the distance to stop as a car traveling the same speed. Trucks are not equipped to brake suddenly like your car or motorcycle, so you should only change lanes in front of a truck when there is a large distance (generally, if you can see both of the truck's headlights in your rearview mirror then you are far enough in front to change into a truck's lane) between the back of your vehicle and the front of the truck. This provides enough time for the truck to stop if need be, and ensures the trucker can see your vehicle. If you are traveling in front of a truck, avoid abrupt stops or sudden drops in speed where the truck driver cannot slow down to accommodate your actions.
The Right Lane Directly in Front of the TruckIt's a common misconception that because a truck cab rides higher than passenger vehicles, the driver must have a better field of vision. While this is true that truckers can usually see above traffic and have a better visual of the road far ahead, it also creates a blind spot in the lane adjacent to the truck's passenger side. Avoid driving next to the cab and in the area where your rear tires are adjacent to the truck's front tires. This is an area where you are parallel (and therefore invisible) to the mirrors and too low and close to the truck for the driver to see you out of his or her passenger window or front windshield.
Directly Behind the TruckTailgating large trucks is a serious hazard. While trucks do take a while to brake, they can still stop suddenly and leave you little time to react. Riding directly behind a truck is especially dangerous if the truck has to back up. A driver will check his or her mirrors, but will be unable to see any vehicle, pedestrian, or object directly behind the trailer.
Anywhere that You Cannot See their MirrorsMany commercial semi trucks have stickers that say, "If you can't see my mirrors, I can't see you." This is true for any vehicle. If you cannot see yourself or your vehicle in another vehicle's mirror, the driver most likely cannot see you. If you are in the blind spot of a truck, the driver may change lanes or turn without noticing you are in the path. This can lead to serious or fatal truck accidents, so it is important to give plenty of space between yourself and the truck and always make sure you can see the truck's mirrors. The mirror blind spots occur on both sides of the truck, although the area to the right (passenger) side of the truck has a wider, longer area of diminished visibility than the drivers' side.