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Truck Accidents Caused by Blind Spots or No Zones
Commercial trucks are crucial to our economy. But they present dangers that do not typically exist with other vehicles. One of the biggest reasons why trucks are so dangerous are their blind spots.
Blind spots account for hundreds of thousands of accidents each year. Other drivers are sometimes lulled into a false sense of security because truckers are higher off the ground, where they mistakenly expect visibility to be better.
The Department of Transportation provides the following statistics when it comes to truck blind spots:
- More than 413,000 accidents are caused every year across the country due to truck blind spots
- More than 160,000 fatalities are blamed on accidents involving truck blind spots
A blind spot is the area around a truck, or vehicle, which the driver cannot see. These areas are also often known as “No Zones”, since passenger vehicles are well advised to avoid traveling in those area directly in front of, behind, or beside large trucks. While most drivers are accustomed to seeing commercial trucks on busy roadways, many fail to realize that these tractor-trailers and other large vehicles have sizable blind spots, which enhance the risk for serious accidents.
Truck blind spots are larger than one might expect. Large commercial trucks have enormous blind spots. A large truck’s blind spots can extend almost the entire length of the trailer on the right side, plus several yards in the back. Even when a vehicle is in front of a truck, the driver might not be able to see how much room he has between the front of his truck and the vehicle.
Due to the large size of these blind spots, accidents are much more prevalent. While commercial truck drivers are trained to watch for vehicles that may be in their blind spots, they aren’t always as cautious as they should be. Complicating the problem is the fact that other drivers may not be mindful of the truck’s No Zones — the areas that should be avoided at all costs.
When truck drivers fail to pay attention to their blind spots, they may be liable for any blind spot accidents that occur. Since many truck wrecks cause severe or even fatal injuries, it’s common for accident victims or their families to pursue compensation as a result of damages that result.
What Are Blind Spots?
Every motor vehicle has blind spots, which are areas in which the driver has limited or no visibility. Commercial trucks have several large blind spots (also known as ‘No Zones’) because of their huge size. It is possible for a large truck driver to completely miss another vehicle that could be behind or beside the truck.
In most vehicles, rear and side-view mirrors are standard equipment which minimize the adverse impact of blind spots. In newer vehicles, backup cameras and electronic sensors improve visibility further by reducing potential blind spots.
Large commercial trucks have much of the same technology and equipment to minimize blind spots. But it is less effective in large vehicles because a truck’s blind spots are significantly larger than the blind spots of a passenger vehicle. Further, not all trucks are equipped with this technology, making them even more vulnerable blind spot truck accidents.
Four Major Blind Spots of a Commercial Truck
Front of the Truck
The fronts of large trucks have blind spots that stretch anywhere between 15 and 25 feet from the front bumper. The truck hood is at a height above the road, which causes this blind spot. Passenger vehicles should try to avoid this area to minimize the risk of a crash. Large commercial trucks take nearly twice the time to stop than a passenger vehicle. So passenger vehicles should not to pass to closely in front of these trucks.
Rear of the Truck
The blind spot at a truck’s rear extends as much as 150 to 225 feet back from the rear bumper. In this situation, if the truck driver applies brakes suddenly, a car driver in the rear blind spot may receive very little time to react.
Left Side of the Truck
On the left side of the truck, the blind spot begins from the driver’s door and stretches up to the trailer’s midsection.
Right Side of the Truck
The blind spot on the right side of the truck starts from the front and goes back to the rear. The right-side blind spot is bigger than the one on the left side. Other vehicle drivers should never pass the truck on its right.
Wide Right Turns
Due to the enormous size of trucks, they often require a larger turning radius. Therefore, they may need to swing wide to the left to successfully turn right. So, passenger vehicles should avoid passing on the right, especially near intersections.
Driver Training and Experience
To address the risk of blind spot accidents, truck drivers receive specialized training to keep checking their side and rearview mirrors frequently while driving, thereby tracking smaller vehicles before they enter one of their blind spots. But if the truck driver is distracted or fatigued, it is easy to make a mistake, which could lead to devastating consequences for other dirvers.
What Causes Blind Spot Accidents?
Blind spot accidents may be caused by a variety of factors. The majority happen due to driver negligence. Some of the most common causes of blind spot truck accidents include:
- Truck drivers who are speeding, lane weaving or tailgating.
- Truck drivers who are distracted by eating, drinking, texting or talking on the phone.
- Intoxicated drivers or those under the influence of drugs.
- Fatigued drivers.
- Inexperienced drivers.
How to Avoid Semi-Truck Blind Spot Accidents
- Always keep a truck’s side-view mirrors within sight. Look for driver’s face in the mirror
- Avoid cutting in too closely in front of large trucks.
- Avoid passing on the right.
- When you do pass a large truck on the road, do so as quickly and safely as possible.
- If you notice truck operators driving recklessly, report them to their company hotlines, or to local authorities.
- Do not tailgate-Allow 4-second following distance (20 car lengths)
- Signal early when passing
- Be alert to truck’s turn signals
If you or a member of your family has been injured or killed due to a blind spot accident with a truck, the truck accident lawyers of VanDerGinst Law will fight hard to get the compensation to which you are entitled.
Simply call 800-960-8529 or click here today for a FREE, no obligation consultation.
The Importance of Legal Representation
If you are injured in a truck accident, you deserve fair and just compensation. Though money won’t take away your pain, it can help you get the care you need, or assist family for any loss they suffer due to the accident victim’s injuries or death.
Truck accidents are complex and may involve multiple parties subject to different rules and regulations. An experienced personal injury attorney can fight for your rights and make sure that all parties are held responsible. If you or a loved one has been involved in a truck accident involving a drunk driver or a driver under the influence of drug, the truck accident lawyers of VanDerGinst Law can help. Call 800-960-8529 or click here for a FREE, no obligation consultation.
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