Tractor-trailers are imposing vehicles on the road. Many of them travel incredibly fast, and drivers feel a sense of relief when the rig finally pulls out of sight. But other trucks are going so slowly that you might be tempted to pass them. Be careful. These large commercial trucks have huge blind spots, and unsuspecting motorists could be pulling directly into an accident.
If you are hurt in a truck crash, contact Larson & Gallivan Law. Our Vermonttruck accident lawyers can help you understand your legal options. Below, we offer important information about blind spots and how to minimize the risk of injury. As we explain, accidents can happen even when the trucks are backing up slowly, so please always exercise caution.
Where Are the Blind Spots?
Big rigs have blind spots on all four sides. Each blind spot is of different size, however:
- Front of the truck: 20 feet
- Back of the truck: 30 feet
- Driver’s side: one lane
- Right hand side: This is the largest blind spot which stretches basically across two lanes.
When you are in the blind spot, the trucker cannot see you. That’s why it’s called a “blind spot.” Some people wrongly think the trucker just isn’t trying hard enough to see them and could easily adjust his mirrors. The opposite is probably the truth. Drivers need to focus on driving, not craning their necks out their window looking for cars. Blind spots are an unavoidable feature of large vehicles like tractor-trailers.
How to Pass a Truck Safely
Now that you know where the blind spots are, you should be careful when passing. Obviously, you can’t entirely avoid the blind spot unless you drive off the road! Nevertheless, there are steps you can take to avoid a collision:
- Pass as quickly as possible. Don’t dawdle in the adjacent lane.
- Never pass on the right. The blind spot is huge on the right-hand side, and it’s illegal to pass on the right anyway.
- Use your horn if you need to. Most people seem to think cars have horns so they can express displeasure as they give someone the finger. In reality, a car horn is a basic safety feature. With a quick tap, you can signal to a driver that you are in their blind spot.
- Be prepared to take defensive action. The risk when passing is that the trucker will try to make a lane change when you are in the blind spot. You might need to really floor it to clear.
Another option is to not pass a big rig on the freeway but simply drive behind it, especially if traffic is heavy. Remember to provide enough of a cushion so the trucker can see you if you are handing out behind.
Don’t Cut Off a Truck
Motorists who are merging with traffic should also be careful when there are semis on the highway. Remember, there is a blind spot in the front of the truck. If you try to scoot in too close, you could get run over. In fact, override accidents are very deadly. It is better to brake as you go down the ramp and wait for an opening, if necessary, before trying to merge.
Be Careful When Walking Behind a Truck
Tractor-trailers deliver goods to small towns and cities across Vermont. Although you probably see them on the highway, they are also pulling into loading bays at all hours of the day and night to offload goods or get new cargo for delivery.
If you are out walking, you should be very careful whenever you approach a truck. Blind spots exist when the truck is going very slowly, too.
One risk is crossing behind a truck that is backing up. Some modern rigs have cameras in the back, which provide a view for the trucker. But the trucker might be too busy looking in his mirrors as he backs up to see whether someone has stepped behind.
The risk of a collision is very high. Ideally, businesses should have loading assistants to help the truck driver back up and to warn pedestrians to stay away. Unfortunately, in many cases, the trucker is backing up with no assistance at all. If possible, walk around the front of the truck or simply wait until the truck has backed up.
Be Careful When Walking in Front of a Truck
Most people realize it’s dangerous for young children to play or cross too closely in front of a school bus. The same principle applies with tractor-trailers and semis. Never cross too close to the cab, because the driver can’t see you. They are liable to throw the truck into drive and possibly run you over.
We recommend crossing to the other side of the street or making eye contact with the driver before you cross. Raise your hand if necessary so the driver will signal that he sees you.
Blind Spot Accidents Can Be Deadly
Getting run over by a big rig is one of the worst accidents a person can suffer. Even if you are in a vehicle, you can suffer horrifying injuries as several tons of weight rest on your car or SUV. Some of the most common injuries are:
- Head injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Neck injuries
- Crush injuries
- Multiple fractures
- Chest and internal organ injuries
Following an accident, get immediate medical attention for anyone who needs it. That means calling an ambulance.
We Can Come to You
After a wreck, please callLarson & Gallivan Law. Our legal team is well prepared to help anyone hurt in this type of collision. If you lost a loved one, we can discuss a wrongful death claim in Vermont and what you might receive for compensation. If you miraculously survived, we will also discuss your ability to bring a legal claim for compensation. Trucking companies will outnumber you with huge legal teams if you don’t get an experienced law firm on your side. Call us at 518-862-8799 today. We can come to you if that is more convenient.