Most drivers have experienced the frustration of dealing with blind spots while operating their vehicles. For commercial motor vehicle operators, however, blind spots significantly impair their visibility and may contribute to the commonness of trucking accidents.
As a driver who may find yourself sharing the road with these vehicles, understanding their blind spots may help you stay safe.
Front blind spots
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, commercial motor vehicles have blind spots that stretch up to 20 feet in front of them. Cutting off these vehicles, then, may place you in a blind spot and potentially increase your risk of getting into a trucking accident. Even if the truck operator can see you, your moving in too quickly may not give them the time or space they need to slow or stop in time to avoid a crash.
Rear blind spots
The blind spot to the rear of commercial trucks may extend up to 30 feet. Therefore, you may find it helpful to allow greater following distances when traveling behind these vehicles. If commercial vehicle operators cannot see your vehicle behind them, they may not take the necessary actions to avoid collisions in the event of road hazards, changes in traffic conditions or other such factors. It may benefit you to keep in mind is that the truck driver likely cannot see your vehicle if you cannot see his or her face in the truck’s side mirror.
Side blind spots
In addition to the front and rear blind spots, large trucks also have areas of limited visibility along both sides. The FMCSA points out that when passing commercial vehicles, you should do so to the left side. It may also help you to accelerate as you maneuver past large trucks in order to complete your pass as quickly and safely as possible.