Truck accidents are often deadly accidents, and they are nothing if not terrifying. The massive size differential between semi-trucks and the vehicles we drive basically ensures that any accident between the two types of vehicles leaves the noncommercial driver at a serious disadvantage. To make things more complicated, these 18-wheelers have wide swaths of blind spots or no zones all the way around them. Understanding where these no zones are and staying out of them can help you stay safer out there.
A Truck’s No Zones
When you get behind the wheel of your car, you recognize that you have blind spots, and you do what you can to accommodate for them as you drive. Truck drivers, even though they sit high above the roadway, experience large no zones that radiate from every side of their trucks’ bodies, including:
- Directly in front of the truck’s cab
- Directly behind the truck’s trailer
- A large area in the middle of the right and left side of the trailer that radiates backward and outward into the next lanes (the blind spot on the trucker’s right is much larger than the one on his or her left).
If your car is in one of these no zones, the truck driver cannot see you; proceed with caution.
Steering Clear of No Zones
Semis support our consumer-driven economy, and as such, we share our roadways with more and more of them. Knowing how to avoid trucks’ no zones can help you share the road safely with them. This includes:
- Never cut in front of a big rig. The trucker cannot see you when you are directly in front of his or her truck, and massive tractor-trailers need far greater stopping distances than other vehicles do.
- Never tailgate a semi. The trucker cannot see you back there, and tailgating is always a terrible idea.
- Steer clear of a semi-truck's blind spot to the right by making it your policy to never pass a semi on the right. If a truck is passing you on the left and making slow work of it, slow down a bit and allow it to pass — the less time you spend to the right of a semi, the better.
- When you pass a truck on the left, do so efficiently. You do not want to linger near a truck.
The best policy when it comes to semi-trucks and their no zones is to give them as much space on the road as you possibly can, and when you do need to pass, do so with dispatch.