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How to Avoid Tractor-Trailer Blind Spots

If you can avoid a tractor-trailer's "blind spots," you can avoid a lot of trouble with the big rigs. What is a blind spot? Go sit in the driver's seat of your car and have a friend stand behind the car so you can see him in the rear-view mirror. Then have your friend slowly walk around to the driver's side window, while you watch him in the mirror. There comes a point where you cannot see him in your rear-view mirror anymore, but only in the side mirror. Then there will be a point where you cannot see him in the side mirror either, and you still cannot see him with your peripheral vision while looking forward. You have found your car's blind spot.

Tractor-Trailers Have Multiple Large Blind Spots

That same blind spot exists for tractor-trailers, except that it is much larger. When you pull along the left side of a tractor trailer to pass, you will be in a blind spot for a good part of the time. But this is not the only blind spot a tractor-trailer driver has to deal with. There is even a larger blind spot on the right side of the tractor-trailer. If you are traveling in either of these areas for a substantial period of time, there's a good chance the truck driver will forget that you are there. And when he decides to change lanes, guess who is directly in his path? The best rule is to drive directly through these areas as quickly as possible without lingering. Other tractor-trailer blind spots are easier to recognize. The simple rule is, if you are unable to see the trailer's side-view mirrors, the driver can't see you. So, if you are traveling in the same lane as a tractor-trailer, and your view of the tractor's side mirrors are blocked by the rear of the trailer, you are too close because his view of you is blocked as well.

Beware of the Nose

The last area to be aware of is directly in front of the tractor-trailer. Why can't a driver see what is directly in front of him? It is because part of that view is blocked by the nose of the tractor-trailer, which the driver cannot see over. The driver generally cannot see from the right side front of the tractor-trailer back to passenger door either. What are the best ways to avoid blind spots on tractor-trailers?

  • Stay back far enough to see the mirrors.
  • Never pass on the right side.
  • Pass on the left as quickly as is safely possible.
  • Do not linger in front of or near the front right of the tractor.

Of course, accidents sometimes happen to even the most careful drivers. If you are involved in an incident with a tractor-trailer, it is important to consult with an attorney who is experienced and knowledgeable in this area.