Dangers of 18-Wheeler Blind Spots

Semi-trucks, 18-wheelers, and other large commercial vehicles are a critical part of our economy. They allow us to transport products across the state and around the country. But a loaded semi-truck can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, and the results of a truck accident are almost always catastrophic. That’s why it’s important that drivers understand some basic facts about semi trucks and know how to share the road with them. A critical point is understanding truck blind spots and how to avoid them.

What Are Blind Spots?

Blind spots are areas where the driver cannot see. Every vehicle has them. In passenger vehicles, the driver’s blinds spots are usually smaller. By properly positioning mirrors and using a back-up camera a driver can avoid blind-spot accidents.

But for truck drivers, blind spots can be significant. If you’re not paying attention you might be driving in the blind spot of a truck. If a truck driver cannot see you, you could be catastrophically injured in an accident.

How Many Blind Spots Do Large Trucks Have?

Trucks have four separate blind spots. These are areas around the truck where the driver cannot see a vehicle, bicycle, or pedestrian. Truck blind spots are:

  • Directly in front of the cab. Big rigs are tall and the blind spot of a truck in front of the cab may extend approximately 20 feet
  • The driver’s side. There is a blind spot running the length of the truck along the driver’s side. It may be up to three lanes wide.
  • The passenger side. This truck blind spot is a mirror image of the blind spot on the driver’s side. It begins at the end of the cab and extends back along the length of the truck. It can be up to three lanes wide.
  • Directly behind the trailer. This truck blind spot extends approximately 30 feet behind the truck.

How to Avoid Truck Blind Spots

Knowing where a semi truck’s blind spots are is the first step to avoiding them. But you need to make a conscious effort to stay out of a truck’s blind spots. Avoid a truck’s blind spots by:

  • Not following too closely. Leave multiple car lengths between your car and the end of a trailer.
  • Being sure you can see the truck’s mirrors. If you cannot see the truck’s mirrors, the truck driver cannot see you.
  • Avoiding trucks that are tailgating. If a truck is not keeping multiple vehicle lengths between its front bumper and your back bumper, change lanes when it is safe to do so.
  • Not driving directly to the side of the truck’s cab. The truck driver will not be able to see you.

Semi-Truck Blind Spot Accidents

By consciously avoiding a truck’s blind spots you reduce the chances of being hurt in a truck accident. Unfortunately, accidents still happen. But—even if you were driving in a truck’s blind spot, you were not necessarily negligent. Based on road and traffic conditions, you may not have had a choice about where to drive.

Regardless of traffic conditions, the truck driver has a duty to monitor surrounding traffic and keep track of vehicles entering their blind spots.

Regardless of traffic conditions, the truck driver has a duty to monitor surrounding traffic and keep track of vehicles entering their blind spots.

If you were hurt in an accident with an 18-wheeler or other big truck, the truck driver may have been negligent and you might be entitled to compensation.

Injuries Caused by Truck Blind Spot Accidents

When a car is involved in a collision with a large truck the results are often catastrophic. Blind spot accidents can result in an underride collision, a sideswipe accident, a rollover, or a vehicle being run off the road. When the vehicles collide, trucks often cause significant property damage, severe injuries, and a higher likelihood of fatalities than accidents involving passenger vehicles.

Common injuries to drivers involved in accidents with semi-trucks include:

  • Fractures
  • Lacerations
  • Scarring
  • Burn injuries
  • Neck injuries
  • Back injuries such as cracked vertebrae and herniated discs
  • Spinal cord injuries that can lead to temporary or permanent paralysis
  • Head injuries and traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Internal bleeding
  • Crushed limbs that may require amputation

Robenalt Law—Seeking Justice for Victims of Semi Truck Accidents

If you or someone you love was hurt in a truck accident, you may be entitled to compensation for:

  • Medical bills
  • The cost of future medical care
  • Costs of rehabilitation
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of future earnings
  • Pain and suffering

The experienced Ohio truck accident attorneys at Robenalt Law are here to help. Tom Robenalt helps truck accident injury victims identify: the cause of the accident and who was at fault, the nature and extent of your physical injuries, and an amount of money that will compensate you and your family for your injuries, suffering, and lost work.

Learn more about our truck accident practice, read why clients choose us, and get answers to frequently asked questions. Then contact the experienced truck accident attorneys at Robenalt Law today.

Tom Robenalt started his litigation career representing trucking companies at a large firm in Cleveland. For the past 25 years, he has used that experience to help victims and their families secure compensation for trucking accidents.