Large commercial vehicles sit high off the ground, and they can reach lengths of approximately 70 feet. With vehicles this large, there are certainly going to be blind spots that other motorists need to be aware of. When you drive your everyday passenger vehicle, you have blind spots. Now, just imagine how large these blind spots are on a semi-truck. Here, we want to review commercial truck blind spots and discuss the best steps for avoiding them.
Where are Commercial Truck Blind Spots?
When we examine information available from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), we can see that larger commercial trucks have four “No Zones,” which are areas where other motorists need to avoid operating. These blind spots include:
In front of the truck. Large commercial trucks sit high off the road, and drivers may not be able to see vehicles that are right in front of them.
The rear of the truck. Commercial truck drivers typically cannot see vehicles that are right behind the truck, as their mirrors do not allow this type of visibility.
Along both sides of the truck. Even with mirrors, there are various areas located on each side of the truck where the driver will not be able to see the vehicle.
How to Best Avoid Truck Blind Spots
The best way to avoid large commercial truck blind spots you have to leave plenty of distance between your vehicle and the larger commercial truck. However, there will be times when you have to get near a larger truck or pass them on the roadway, particularly if you’re traveling on a highway or freeway.
In general, we recommend that all motorists stay out of the blind spots when possible, and it is important to remember that if you cannot see the truck’s driver in their side mirror, you need to assume that the truck driver cannot see you or your vehicle.
Passing. If you need to pass a larger commercial truck, make sure you can see the driver in their mirror before you do so. Use your turn signals and then move into the left lane and accelerate so you can get past the larger commercial truck. Do not linger in the blind spots on the side of the truck as you are passing.
No Tailgating. Do not follow a large commercial truck too closely. If the larger truck driver slams on their brakes for any reason, this could lead to major injuries or property damage if your vehicle slams into the back of the truck.
Do Not Cut Them Off. When you pass a larger commercial truck, do not quickly change lanes right in front of them. Again, the area right in front of a truck is a blind spot, and the last thing anyone needs is to be rear-ended by a vehicle that weighs up to 80,000 pounds.
Wide turns. Larger commercial trucks typically have to make wide turns, particularly when they need to turn to the right. Often, this results in them entering into other lanes of traffic. If you notice that a truck needs to turn right or left, stay away from the side that they are turning.