Driving alongside intimidating big rigs on the highway is an everyday reality for most drivers. These trucks are vital for transporting goods across the country, but they can also be the biggest risks on the road, particularly when it comes to their blind spots. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), almost 500,000 crashes involve large trucks each year in the U.S.

Great West Injury Law recognizes the importance of this awareness for all drivers, whether you’re behind the wheel of a compact car, an SUV, or a big rig itself. This post will shed light on the underestimated dangers of big rig blind spots.

If you ever find yourself in an unfortunate accident involving a truck, know that Great West Injury Law is here to guide and support you through the legal aftermath.

Understanding Big Rig Blind Spots

A big rig’s blind spots are significantly larger than those of passenger vehicles, and understanding where these areas are and how big they can be will serve you well as a driver. Here’s what you should know:

  • Front Blind Spot: Since trucks have a long and tall front end, truck drivers often can’t see what’s directly in front of them for several feet. This area can make small cars virtually invisible if they’re too close to the front of the truck.
  • Rear Blind Spot: Big rigs don’t have a rearview mirror that can check the traffic directly behind them. Their vision is obstructed by the trailer, creating a large blind spot right behind the truck. Following too closely not only puts you in this blind spot but also puts you at risk of a severe collision if the truck stops too quickly.
  • Side Blind Spots: Large trucks have big blind spots on both sides. On the driver’s side, the blind spot can extend across several lanes, while the passenger’s side blind spot is even larger due to the truck driver’s position on the left side of the cab.

The Impact of Blind Spots

Passenger vehicles in these blind spots can’t be seen by the truck driver, increasing the risk of a collision, especially during turns, lane changes, or sudden stops. To minimize risks, drivers should avoid lingering in these areas, ensure they can see the truck’s mirrors (if you can’t see them, the truck driver can’t see you), and give trucks plenty of space to maneuver.

Truck drivers, on their part, should regularly check their mirrors, use turn signals well in advance, and be aware of the limitations of their visibility.

By respecting these No-Zones and practicing patience and caution, we can significantly reduce the risk of accidents and ensure a safer journey for everyone on the road. And remember, if an incident does occur, Great West Injury Law is equipped with the knowledge and experience to help navigate the complexities of accidents involving large trucks.

Tips for Driving Safely Around Big Rigs

  • Maintain a Safe Following Distance: Keep a safe distance between your vehicle and the truck ahead of you. This gives you more time to react to sudden stops or changes in the truck’s speed and ensures you remain visible to the truck driver. A good rule of thumb is to allow at least four to six seconds of space in dry conditions and more in poor weather.
  • Pass Safely and Decisively: When overtaking a big rig, do so quickly and safely. Ensure you have a clear view of the road ahead and that you can see the truck’s driver in their mirror before you begin to pass. Signal clearly and move back into the truck’s lane only when you can see the entire front of the truck in your rearview mirror. Avoid passing on a downhill where trucks can pick up speed.
  • Be Cautious of Wide Turns: Trucks make wide turns and may need to swing wide or change lanes to negotiate a turn. Never try to squeeze between a truck and the curb, and don’t attempt to pass a truck that is preparing to turn. Pay attention to turn signals, and give them plenty of room to complete their turn.
  • Avoid Blind Spots: Stay out of big rig blind spots whenever possible. If you need to pass, do so quickly and safely to minimize the time spent in these No-Zones. Remember, if you can’t see the truck’s mirrors, the truck driver can’t see you.
  • Stay Visible: Use your headlights in dusk and inclement weather to ensure you’re visible to truck drivers. Avoid sudden lane changes or erratic movements that might not give a truck driver enough time to react.
  • Be Patient: Trucks have different capabilities and restrictions compared to smaller vehicles. They take longer to accelerate, turn, and stop. Recognize these limitations and adjust your expectations and behaviors accordingly.
  • Prepare for Turbulence: Large trucks can create wind gusts and turbulence, especially at high speeds. Be ready for this by firmly gripping the steering wheel when passing or being passed by a big rig.

If the Worst Happens on the Road, Reach Out

Remember, safe driving is a shared responsibility. Whether you’re behind the wheel of a sedan, an SUV, or a semi-truck, your actions can contribute to a safer journey for everyone.

If you ever find yourself involved in an accident with a big rig, know that Great West Injury Law is here to help. Our experienced team understands the complexities of truck accidents and is committed to supporting you through every step of your claim. Contact us for a free consultation on your case. Together, we can navigate the aftermath of an accident and work towards a safer future on the road.