Commercial trucks are common sights on our nation’s highways. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) states that there were 10.9 million large trucks registered in the United States in 2014. It is well documented that truck accidents pose unique and serious risks to drivers and passengers in smaller cars when involved in accidents. So, with so many large vehicles on the road, it is important for both commercial and casual drivers to take care and drive in a manner which promotes the safety of everyone.
While there are many considerations that can be made, one often overlooked aspect of safe driving involves what are known as truck “no-zones.” These are the areas in which accidents are more likely to occur, and all drivers should be aware of these spots while driving.
What Is a Truck No-Zone?
No-zones are defined as the areas around a truck where another vehicle on the road disappears from the truck driver’s sight. These areas are large blind spots where a truck driver cannot see another vehicle. When a vehicle travels in these no zones, it is more likely that an accident will occur.
There are four specific areas that are especially dangerous identified as no-zones:
- At the side. Due to their size, trucks have much larger side blind spots than passenger cars. When a smaller car travels alongside a truck, the driver may not be able to see the car and may change lanes into the car.
- Directly to the rear. While passenger car drivers can use a rear-view mirror and rear window to easily see behind them, this is not possible for large trucks. This means that trucks have long blind spots directly behind them. Following too closely limits visibility for the car drivers and prevents a truck driver from seeing your car.
- Directly in front. Commercial trucks are significantly taller and heavier than most other vehicles on the road and require more time and space to come to a stop. If a smaller car cuts too closely in front of a larger truck when merging or changing lanes, the truck may not be able to slow or stop in time to avoid an accident.
- Inside the truck’s wide turning radius. When making turns, long trucks require more space than other vehicles. As they turn, if a car pulls forward into the angle made by the truck, the driver may not be able to see the car.
Tips to Avoid Blind Spot and No-Zone Accidents
With a reasonable amount of care, both passenger car drivers and truck drivers can help avoid dangerous no-zone crashes. While it is the duty of the commercial truck to exercise caution when driving, other drivers can also take simple steps to help stay safe.
When traveling along larger trucks, passenger car drivers should follow these tips:
- Be aware of the no-zones.
- Spend as little time as possible in the no-zone.
- If you must pass a truck, do so as quickly as the law and traffic allow.
- Leave plenty of space between your car and the truck.
- Don’t tailgate.
The best rule of thumb when it comes to avoiding no-zones is this: if you can’t see the truck’s mirrors, assume the truck driver cannot see your vehicle.
While these tips can help to avoid crashes, truck drivers still have a responsibility to drive safely on the road, and they can still be held responsible if they behave in a careless manner.
Consequences of No-Zone Accidents
No-zone accidents can be especially dangerous as the truck driver may not even realize a crash is occurring. Sometimes, even when drivers exercise caution, accidents can happen. While it is safer to avoid the no-zones, it is sometimes impossible as a car travels with the flow of traffic. In those situations, these accidents can result in severe injuries to drivers and passengers, including:
- Broken bones
- Head injuries
- Spine injuries
- Limb amputations
If you or someone you love has suffered injuries in a truck accident, you may be eligible to make a claim. The lawyers at the Rechtman & Spevak may be able to help. Call our Atlanta office at 888-522-7798 or take a moment to fill out our online contact form for a prompt response from a member of our legal team. We can answer your questions and schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.