Many motorists do not recognize all of the challenges associated with driving a commercial truck. Truck drivers have a responsibility to take extra care to avoid dangerous mishaps. However, understanding the challenges trucks present can help you better protect yourself and your family from experiencing a devastating collision.
One of the most dangerous challenges are a truck's blind spots. These blind spots are much larger than the blind spots on any passenger vehicle, and they are located on every side of the truck.
A commercial truck’s blind spots extend:
- 20 feet in front
- 30 feet behind
- One lane on the driver’s side
- Two lanes on the passenger’s side
Do not be too eager to merge
In general, space is your friend when driving near a truck. This includes when the truck is behind you.
Try not to merge too soon in front of a truck. You can avoid cutting off the truck by allowing plenty of space between you and the truck before you turn on your turn signal and merge into the lane. You will know that it is safe to merge if you can see the truck’s headlights and front bumper in your rear-view mirror.
Keeping extra space between you and the truck is also important when you are positioned behind it. Try to stay far enough behind the truck that you can see the driver’s side mirror.
If you follow too closely, the driver may not be able to see you, which could affect his or her behavior on the road. Following too closely also puts you at risk of rear ending the truck, colliding with unsecured items that may fall out of the truck or driving into debris that the truck may kick up.
When you are in a situation that requires passing a truck, it is important to take this action carefully. You should only ever pass on the left side because the blind spot on the right side is much larger than the one on the left side.
Start from a safe distance behind the truck. Turn on your turn signal and approach the truck. Pass the truck quickly, so you spend as little time as possible in the side blind spot. Then merge back in front of the truck when you are a safe distance ahead of it.
Taking steps to avoid a truck’s blind spots can help keep you and the other occupants of your vehicle safe from a possible truck collision. However, truckers also have a responsibility to behave safely on the road. If you or your passengers were injured by a truck driver’s reckless behavior, it may be appropriate to take legal action. You may be able to receive compensation for the injury-related expenses your family faces because of the collision.