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What Is the No-Zone of a Truck?
Recognizing Dangerous Blind Spots on Large Trucks
All vehicles have blind spots. While most drivers know the typical blind spots on passenger vehicles, fewer realize that large trucks, such as semi-trucks and tractor-trailers, have several blind spots—or “no-zones.”
Because trucks are so large, there are many areas around them where other vehicles essentially disappear, and the truck driver cannot see them at all. As a driver, it is absolutely essential that you know and avoid these no-zones to keep yourself, your passengers, and others on the road safe.
If you have been involved in a truck accident, reach out to our team at The Law Offices of Ron Sholes, P.A. as soon as possible. Our experienced attorneys can review your situation and help you understand your legal rights and options at absolutely no cost.
Call (855) 933-3881 or contact us online for a free consultation.
The Front No-Zone
As a general rule of thumb, you should never cut off a large truck as you may another, smaller vehicle. This is extremely dangerous for several reasons. First, large trucks take much longer to slow down or stop due to their immense size and weight. If you cut off a truck, the truck driver might apply the brakes but be unable to avoid a collision.
Additionally, 18-wheelers and other large trucks have blind spots that extend about 20 feet directly in front of the truck (also known as the tractor, i.e., the area in which the truck driver sits). This means that you should not only avoid cutting off large trucks, but you should also refrain from driving within 20 feet immediately in front of a large truck. If a truck pulls up too closely behind you while you are driving, make sure it is safe, then move over to allow the truck to pass.
The Driver-Side No-Zone
Semi-trucks, big rigs, and other commercial vehicles have much larger blind spots on either side than standard passenger vehicles. These side no-zones extend from the front part of the vehicle—i.e., the truck or tractor—to part of the front of the trailer. Additionally, the side no-zones on a large truck angle out from the sides of the vehicle, creating an almost triangle- or wing-like shape.
On the truck driver’s side (note: not the driver’s side of your vehicle), the no-zone extends from between the truck’s driver-side headlight and the cab (the area where the driver sits) to the front quarter of the trailer on the truck driver’s side. Imagine a large box covering the front part of the truck on the driver’s side that extends across one lane, back to the front of the trailer, and slants out into a point away from the truck. This is the driver-side no-zone on a semi-truck or large commercial vehicle.
When passing a large truck on the left, you should always do so as quickly and as safely as possible. Do not drive any longer than necessary in the truck driver-side no-zone, or you could end up being sideswiped by a truck driver who simply cannot see you.
The Passenger-Side No-Zone
The passenger-side no-zone on a truck—meaning the side on which a passenger in the truck would be sitting, not one in your vehicle—is much larger than the truck driver-side no-zone. You may have seen stickers on the back of large commercial vehicles warning drivers of this massive blind spot. These warnings are there for a reason.
This blind spot extends from between the truck’s passenger-side headlight and cab all the way out across two lanes of traffic and back about 30 feet beyond the end of the trailer, moving out and away from the truck into a point the further back you go. Essentially, this means that a truck driver cannot see you if you are driving in either of the two closest lanes to the righthand side of the truck.
You should avoid driving longer than necessary in the truck’s passenger-side blind spot, and you should never try to pass a truck on the right unless absolutely necessary. You should also never come up on the right-hand side of a truck that is making a right turn. The driver will not be able to see you, and this could lead to a devastating or even fatal accident.
The Rear No-Zone
You should never follow too closely (i.e., “tailgate”) when driving, regardless of the type of vehicle in front of you. If the front vehicle stops suddenly, and you are too close behind, you may become involved in a rear-end collision. However, this advice is especially true when it comes to driving behind a tractor-trailer, 18-wheeler, or similar large truck.
Because they do not have rear-view mirrors, truck drivers must rely on their side mirrors to see anything behind them. Unfortunately, these side mirrors cannot show anything—including other vehicles—directly behind the truck or trailer.
Immediately behind large trucks, there is a blind spot extending directly out from the rear of the trailer about 30 feet. Imagine a large box that fills the lane in which the truck is traveling; this is the rear no-zone of a truck. Avoid driving in this area, as the truck driver cannot see you.
Why You Should Never Drive Longer Than Necessary in a Truck’s No-Zone
While it may be necessary to drive in one of a truck’s no-zones to pass or when in traffic, you should avoid driving in these no-zones for longer than absolutely necessary. When you are in a truck’s blind spot, the driver cannot see you and may maneuver the truck in a way that puts you and your passengers in serious danger.
Common types of truck accidents that can result from driving in the trucks’ blind spots include:
- Rear-end collisions, both with the passenger vehicle in front and behind the truck
- Sideswipe collisions when the truck driver changes or attempts to change lanes
- Side collisions when the truck driver makes a left- or right-hand turn
- Merging accidents, in which the truck driver doesn’t see another vehicle in a side no-zone
Sadly, these accidents often lead to catastrophic injuries and fatalities. If you or someone you love was involved in a large truck accident, you deserve justice.
At The Law Offices of Ron Sholes, P.A., we carefully investigate truck accidents to determine exactly what happened and, most importantly, who is liable for your damages. Even if you were driving in a truck’s blind spot when the crash occurred, you could still be entitled to financial compensation through your no-fault personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. You could also have grounds for a lawsuit against the truck driver, trucking company, or another third party. We invite you to contact our firm today to learn more during a free, no-obligation consultation.
You can reach us online via our secure contact form or by phone at (855) 933-3881.