Semi-Truck Blind Spots: Know The “No Zones”

Due to their massive size and weight, semi-trucks or 18-wheelers are without a doubt the “kings of the road”. These large trucks tower over other types of vehicles, and because truck drivers sit so high above other motorists, many people assume they have a bird’s eye view of the highway and everyone around them.

In reality, semi-truck operators have fairly limited visibility surrounding their vehicles. Because the tractor-trailers are so big, it’s simply impossible for a truck’s driver to see every area around their rig. 18-wheelers have four major blind spots, which are sometimes referred to as “no zones,” because it is unsafe to remain in these spots if you’re driving near a semi-truck. Knowing about these no zones can help you avoid them.

The Front “No Zone”
18-wheelers often move slowly when picking up speed, which can be frustrating to other motorists. If you’ve ever spent miles stuck behind a large truck, then you probably know how tempting it is to zip around whenever you get the chance. This action is very dangerous because semi-trucks have a front blind spot that can extend up to 20 feet in front of the truck’s cab. Semi-truck drivers cannot see vehicles in this front area which can be deadly if the semi must stop quickly during one of these maneuvers.

If the truck’s driver can’t see you, he or she might not be able to adjust or calculate adequate space between the truck’s grill and the bumper of the car ahead of you. Terrible injuries will be suffered when passenger vehicles are sandwiched between a semi and another vehicle, so don’t let it happen to you!

The Rear “No Zone”
Semi-trucks also have a large blind spot immediately behind the truck’s trailer. At up to 200 feet, the rear no zone is quite large. Motorists who follow trucks too closely do so at their own peril, as the truck’s driver may not even know there is a vehicle that close to the trailer.

If the truck tries to stop quickly, there becomes a risk of underride -which occurs when a car slides under the truck’s trailer usually sheering off the top of the car and causing catastrophic injuries or fatalities. This is a very serious situation and should be avoided at all costs!

The Right “No Zone”
The right no zone is the largest of all the semi-truck blind spots and can extend over three lanes of traffic. This blind spot roughly starts at the truck’s passenger side truck door and spreads outward to cover the lanes next to the truck’s trailer. This is why passing a semi on the right is extremely dangerous, since the truck’s driver is unlikely to know you’re there until it’s too late.

If you cannot see the truck driver’s reflection in his or her side mirror, then you are within the truck driver’s blind spot and they cannot see you. If you happen to stay in those blind spots,  you will be preventing the trucker’s ability to take evasive action to avoid a dangerous situation if necessary.

The Left “No Zone”
The left side blind spot is the smallest, but it is still dangerous. If you can’t see the truck operator’s side mirrors, he or she probably can’t see you, either. Louisiana is home to some of the most dangerous highways in the country. The Louisiana Highway Patrol is taking steps to lower the number of highway crashes by educating motorists about tractor-trailer no zones. Whether you’re a regular highway commuter, or just an occasional interstate driver, here are several ways to stay safer when you’re sharing the road with semis:

  • Always pass any vehicle on the left, but take extra care to always pass tractor-trailers on the left side only.
  • After you travel past a semi-truck, don’t move in front of it until you can see the entire semi in your own rearview mirror.
  • Don’t linger in a semi-truck’s blind spots.
  • If you are behind a semi-truck and you can’t see its side mirrors, you are probably following too closely.

If you or a loved one have been involved in a truck accident crash, call our Shreveport 18-wheeler accident lawyers today to schedule a free consultation concerning your important case.