According to the Missouri Department of Transportation, truck accidents make up 11 to 15 percent of fatalities on Missouri’s roads and highways. While there are many different causes of truck accidents, truck drivers unable to see other vehicles in their blind spots certainly make up a significant portion of those.
Many drivers assume that because truck drivers sit higher up than other vehicles and have very large side mirrors, their blind spots are smaller than those in passenger cars. However, this is far from true, as trucks actually have much larger blind spots than other vehicles.
While truck drivers are still responsible for driving safely, and not crashing into vehicles in their no-zones, truck accidents may be fatal or cause major injuries. It is important all drivers familiarize themselves with a truck’s no-zones and then do their best to avoid those areas at all times.
Side Blind Spots
The blind spots for a truck, or “no-zones,” are on each side of a transport truck. The largest no-zone is on the right-hand side of a truck and extends along nearly the entire length of the trailer the truck is hauling. It can also include several lanes along that side, so drivers should be aware that if a truck is to the left of them, there is a very good chance the truck driver cannot see their vehicle.
The left-hand side of a transport truck also has a no-zone, although it is smaller than the one on the right-hand side. The side mirror will allow the driver to see most vehicles that are right beside them on the left-hand side, but there is a blind spot in areas not in the mirror, typically from the back of the driver to the middle of the trailer. This blind spot can include the lane immediately to the left of the truck and the lane to the left of that.
Rear Blind Spot
The blind spot at the back of a tractor-trailer is large because the driver has no way of seeing around the truck. This blind spot extends up to 100 feet in this area, until a vehicle is far enough away that the truck driver can see their vehicle in the mirror.
It is important that drivers never follow a transport truck too closely, not only to stay out of this no-zone but also to stay a safe distance in case the truck stops suddenly. When following too closely, it is relatively easy for drivers of other vehicles to be in an underride accident, where their vehicle could get caught beneath the truck.
Front Blind Spot
The no-zone at the very front of the truck is the smallest of all, but one still exists that drivers need to be aware of. Because the front of trucks are also very large—and the driver is sitting so high up they cannot see the ground right in front of them—this no-zone extends about 20 feet from the truck’s bumper. Drivers should avoid this area at all times in order to avoid being crushed by a truck that cannot stop as quickly as other vehicles, and to ensure that the truck driver can see them at all times.