One of the first things a driver learns once they actually get out on the road is how to deal with blind spots. Properly maintained review mirrors can’t cover everything, and when one is changing lanes, it pays to be careful to look behind to make sure the lane is clear. It also pays for the driver being passed to be aware of the other driver’s blind spots, as well.
Now imagine the blind spot of a long-haul, fully-loaded 18-wheeler tractor-trailer. What’s only a slight turn of the neck in a regular automobile becomes one more danger than the average trucker has to keep in mind as they’re rolling down the road. And while inattentiveness to the blind spot in a car often results in nothing more than a quick adjustment (and perhaps some harsh words spoken into a steering wheel), 18-wheelers aren’t that agile. It can get very dangerous very quickly.
We here at Auger & Auger care about your safety. Knowing where a trucker can and can’t see while they’re turning might be the difference between life and death. And even when you do your best to be safe, the carelessness of others can lead to you getting into a wreck anyways.
If you’ve been hurt in a collision and need a truck accident lawyer in the Carolinas, we’ve got you covered. Give us a call at 855-969-5671 today for a free consultation. Our attorneys have the experience and drive to seek the maximum compensation available for all of your losses.
With this in mind, forewarned is forearmed, so we offer this instruction of an 18-wheeler’s “no-zone” and why it can be so dangerous.
What And Where Is The “No-Zone”?
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), a “no-zone” is where the driver of a tractor-trailer has zero or limited visibility surrounding the rig.
The average 18-wheeler weighs about 18,000 pounds. Once they get rolling on the highway, they do not stop, slow down or adjust to another driver quickly. Similar to cars’ blind spots but much larger, the FMCSA notes four “no-zones” drivers should be aware of when passing a truck. They are:
- Directly behind the truck for about 200 feet
- Along the left side of the trailer
- Along the right side of the trailer (Note: the blind spot is larger on the right than it is on the left side of the truck)
- Directly in front of the truck for about 20 feet
How Does A Driver Avoid the “No-Zone”?
The best rule of thumb is to make sure the driver’s face is visible in their rearview mirrors. If you can see them, they can see you, and they can react accordingly when you pass.
Apart from normal safe driving techniques, keep the following in mind:
- Don’t linger near the truck. When you pass, make sure you have a clear path and enough speed to get around them.
- Be aware of the truck’s turn signals and brake lights. Make sure they haven’t signaled for a turn or lane change themselves before you make your move. Most truckers know what they’re doing and can adjust if you drive wisely.
- Never follow a large truck too closely. Again, these things don’t stop on a dime. When there’s trouble and the rig gets out of control, you want plenty of room between you and it.
- Never cut too sharp in front of a truck after passing. Give it at least 20 feet.
- Be patient. The big rig needs more time to speed up and slow down. This is particularly important in urban areas, as a truck needs much more room to make basic turns.
- Like buses, big rigs require a lot of space to turn right compared to their left turns. Never try to pass a truck turning right, as you might get squeezed in between them and whatever is to the right.
- Never, ever try to pass a truck that’s backing up. Truckers just have the side mirrors, they do not have a rearview mirror, and may not have seen you try to cross.
The Dangers of Hanging Out in a Truck’s “No-Zone”.
Accidents due to “no-zones” can occur when a truck driver read-ends a vehicle directly in front of the truck or lane changes right into a vehicle. Occasionally, a vehicle gets caught in the truck’s undercarriage. This could shear off the top portion of the vehicle at the very least. Rear-ending a truck at high speed if the driver’s stopped can also result in an undercarriage accident.
Like in a smaller car, a blind spot is no place for a driver to hang around. For an 18-wheeler, it’s even more serious. Failure to be aware of what a trucker can’t see can result in major injuries such as:
- Brain or spinal damage
- Severe organ damage
- Lacerations or amputations
- Broke bones or paralysis
Be Smart, Pay Attention to the Road, and Don’t Hang Out in the “No-Zone”
No one wants to get into an accident, especially with an 18-wheeler. Apart from the physical danger, an accident can result in tedious wrestling with insurance companies to get reasonable compensation for injuries, and some insurers will do everything they can to reduce or deny a claim.
Be smart and stay out of that trouble, but if you find yourself in need of a Carolina personal injury lawyer, give us a call. Our attorneys at Auger & Auger have been serving North and South Carolina for 26 years, practicing personal injury law exclusively. Call us today at 855-969-5671 for a no-risk, free consultation.