Big Trucks and Blind Spots

Understanding the “No Zone”

The United States Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) identifies large blind spots as one of several operating limitations of large trucks and buses, along with long stopping distances and making wide turns.  Big truck blind spots include 20 feet in front of the truck, 30 feet behind the truck, as well as blind spots to the right and the left of the vehicle.  As a simple rule of thumb, passing vehicles should presume they are in a truck driver’s blind spot unless they can see the truck driver’s face in the truck’s side mirror.

Safety Tips in Blind Spots

The FMCSA offers several suggestions for driving safely around large trucks and buses.

Be Aware of Your Position

Because truck driver blind spots are large, drivers are encouraged to stay out of “no zones” whenever possible.  Obviously, this isn’t always possible.  Drivers should bear blind spots in mind when passing a big truck, or merging next to a big truck.  Drivers should also watch for trucks turning, backing up, or changing lanes.

Passing Safely

When you pass a big truck, recall first the blind spot up to 30 feet behind the truck.  Make sure you are out of this blind zone.  Signal your turn before moving into the left lane.  Accelerate to pass the truck quickly and safely.  Do not linger in the blind spot on the side of the truck.  Make sure you can see the truck in your rearview mirror before you return to your own lane in front of the truck.

When a truck is passing your car, stay in the right lane and slow down slightly.  This gives the truck driver room to pass safely.  It also allows the driver to pass more quickly, getting you out of the blind spot faster.

Watch for Signals

Buses and trucks need more turning room.  Consequently, they may initiate turns from the middle lane, rather than the far right.  If a truck driver is signaling a turn, believe them, even if they don’t appear to you to be in a turning lane.  Never try to speed by a truck on the right when they are signaling a right – hand turn.  Recall, you are driving directly in a “no zone,” and the truck driver may not see you.  Similarly, when a truck comes onto the highway, merging from the right, bear in mind the driver’s extended blind spot.  If you can slow down, or change lanes further to the left, do so.

Big Truck Statistics

FMCSA offers some sobering facts about accidents with large trucks and buses.

  • 7 out of every 10 people killed in crashes with large trucks are occupants of other vehicles.
  • 30 % of all fatal crashes that occur in work zones involve one or more large trucks.
  • 61 % of all fatal crashes involving large trucks happen on rural roads.

If You Have Been Injured by a Big Truck or Tractor Trailer

If you are injured by a big truck, or if you have lost a loved one in a crash with a big truck, you may be entitled to compensation.  At The O’Brien Firm, we will come to you to discuss your case at no cost to you.  We only charge a fee if we recover for you.  Give us a call at 716-907-7777 today.

 

 

How Stress and Emotional Driving Can Result in an Accident

A distracted driver behind the wheel has a higher risk of being involved in an accident. Even taking your eyes off the wheel for a moment can have serious consequences. For example, answering a text takes less than five seconds, but at 55 miles per hour, that’s long enough to travel over 400 feet. A great deal can happen in that time.

It doesn’t have to be texting or some other activity to put drivers in danger, however. A wandering mind is equally as dangerous. Thinking about an argument you just had or feeling stressed about something will severely diminish defensive driving skills. You may cause an accident or be less able to avoid one.

Recognizing and Dealing With Stress

Stress cannot be shut off easily. You need to recognize when emotions are running too high to be behind the wheel. Take a walk to clear your mind or sit in your car with your favorite songs playing until you are calmer. It is better to be late to where you are going than to not make it at all.

Avoid Stressful Situations When Driving

Stressful situations can also come up during the drive, but many of these can be avoided. For example, never have an argument on the phone while you’re driving. Traffic can be another irritant, but if you allow extra time for the trip, you’ll be less likely to get upset over heavy traffic.

If an erratic driver is upsetting you, try to change your mind set by imagining why he or she might be driving that way. For instance, someone trying to push you down the road may be trying to get to the hospital in a hurry. It doesn’t hurt to give him or her the benefit of the doubt. Switching your brain from upset to sympathetic will do wonders for reducing stress.

If you do find yourself in an accident, don’t let the stress of the situation cause you to make mistakes. The steps you take right after the accident will make a difference. After getting medical attention and contacting the police, your next call should be to an attorney. The O’Brien Firm, PC has been assisting accident victims in Buffalo for more than 25 years. We recommend that you consult us before you provide a statement to your insurance company.

 

The O’Brien Firm 716-907-7777