Tractor-Trailers Have Larger Blind Spots Than Most Motorists Think
Large commercial trucks like tractor-trailers drive in and out of our state daily, bringing goods to
North Carolina consumers and transporting our goods to distant states. These vehicles are
especially intimidating, given their size and weight. Some can weigh up to 40,000 tons and cause
significant damage when they collide with smaller vehicles.
One danger big rigs pose is that they have large blind spots—much larger than most motorists
suspect. If you are in a blind spot, there is a chance you could be literally run over by a heavy big
rig, or you could be forced off the road, resulting in devastating injuries.
What can a Truck Driver Not See?
The shape of tractor-trailers dramatically limits the ability of a driver to see around the vehicle.
● The height of the truck means that the driver cannot see lower-riding vehicles directly in
● The height of the trailer prevents the trucker from having a rearview mirror, so the driver
usually has to rely on only side mirrors. Some newer trucks might have a rearview
camera the driver can rely on, but most trucks do not.
● The length of the truck prevents the driver from seeing most of the lane adjacent to the
truck. Vehicles passing by can get caught in these blind spots.
If you look at this visual from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, you will see the
size and placement of the blind spots. There are a few things to note:
● The blind spot on the right-hand side is much larger than on the left. This is due to the
location of the driver on the left-hand side of the truck.
● There is a sizeable blind spot directly in front of the vehicle—20 feet.
● Truck drivers have a 30-foot blind spot directly behind the vehicle.
● The blind spot on the left-hand side is actually the smallest of all blind spots. This is good
news, since most people pass a truck on the left.
How can You Protect Yourself?
Safety is critical. You can not expect truck drivers to practice extreme caution, so it is up to
motorists. Remember the following safety tips:
● Never pull directly in front of a big rig. If you are passing, then make sure you are 20 feet
or more past the vehicle before pulling back into the lane.
● Give the truck driver at least a four-second cushion, which is about the lengths of 25 cars.
This is more time than you would give a passenger sedan, but the extra cushion is helpful
if you need to brake.
● Pass as quickly as possible. The longer you linger beside the truck, the longer you are in
the blind spot.
● Do not be afraid to use your horn, if necessary, to tell the driver where you are.
By following these tips, you can reduce the chances of getting into a deadly collision with a
Injured in a Truck Accident? Contact Us Today
Injured victims need compensation to cover their medical bills and other expenses. Reach out to
a Wilmington truck accident attorney at Hodges Coxe & Potter LLP, today. We offer a free
consultation to injured motorists, which you can schedule by calling 910-772-1678.