All types of vehicles share the road on a daily basis. Drivers get used to passing large trucks fairly quickly; however, they may not be doing it as safely as they think. Blind spot accidents are fairly common and typically occur while traveling at high speeds on an interstate or freeway. It’s crucial for drivers to understand the location of a commercial vehicle’s blind spots, how they can be dangerous, how they can be avoided, and what happens in the event of a blind spot accident.
Locating a Truck’s Blind Spots
It can be difficult to determine when you are driving in a trucker’s blind spot. They key is to always make sure you can see the driver’s face. If you can see their face in the side mirror, generally, they can see you. This means that you are not in a blind spot. If, however, you cannot see their face in the side mirror, they might not realize you’re driving behind them or next to them. As a result, a serious truck accident resulting in injuries could occur.
A large commercial vehicle has four blind spots. The front blind spot can be especially dangerous if you are passing a truck and trying to merge back to the right. You want to make sure you can fully see the driver and the top of the cab to confirm you’re not riding in the front blind spot.
There are also blind spots on both sides of a tractor-trailer. If you find yourself passing a truck on the right, which you should avoid doing, or a truck is passing you on the left, it’s likely the trucker will not be able to see to their right for nearly two lanes. The blind spot is angled to a degree, so they might be able to see drivers who are near the back right of their vehicle. On the left, the blind spot extends for a single lane and is primarily located next to the trucker’s cab. Sideswipe accidents are incredibly common when drivers in small vehicles are in a semi’s side blind spots.
The final blind spot, which is behind the truck, exists because truck drivers do not have rear-view mirrors. The blind spot tends to extend for up to 200 feet from the back of the truck. If a driver is tailgating a truck and the larger vehicle needs to slow down or stop unexpectedly, the driver could crash into the rear end.
How to Avoid a Trucker’s Blind Spots
In addition to knowing where the blind spots are, there are a number of other ways drivers can safely operate their vehicles around trucks.
Passing safely is crucial. Drivers need to make sure they can see the trucker in their side mirror, use their indicator to clearly signal their intent to switch lanes, and accelerate at a reasonable speed so as not to linger next to the truck for too long. It’s also important to merge back to the right at the proper distance. Cutting it too close can be dangerous. If a truck is accelerating while a driver is merging back, the truck could ride over the smaller vehicle.
Drivers also need to be aware that truckers need extra turning room. Because of their size, big rigs swing wide or may start a turn from a middle lane. This is especially important to make note of if you drive in urban areas. In places like Philadelphia, congested traffic often leads to cars being right up behind each other. When a truck is trying to turn in an environment like that, it can be difficult to do so if other cars are too close.
Finally, drivers need to remember to be patient. Sometimes, trucks need more time to accelerate up a steep incline. Some even have technology that moderates how fast they can go. Getting frustrating and driving aggressively will only increase your risk for an accident.
Liability for a Blind Spot Accident in Pennsylvania
It can be difficult to determine who was at fault for a blind spot accident. In some cases, the person traveling in the blind spot is held accountable. If, however, the trucker was driving erratically, merged improperly, or was distracted when they hit the other vehicle, a strong case can be built on the injured party’s behalf.
If you believe your truck accident and injuries were caused by a negligent party and should have been prevented, you can take legal action. At Shrager & Sachs, we understand how devastating an auto wreck can be, especially when a much larger vehicle is involved. To learn about how we can help you seek the compensation you need to recover, get in touch with our office today.