We all know cars have blind spots, but what is a “no zone”?
“No zones” are the four large areas around a large commercial truck or trailer in which a truck driver cannot see. Since these larger vehicles have large blind spots or “no zones”, it is incredibly important for the safety of everyone on the road to take certain precautions.
In order to fully understand “no zones” and how to approach a large truck, one must understand the fundamental differences between trucks and passenger vehicles as well as general etiquette on the road.
Differences Between Trucks and Passenger Vehicles
Trucks and passenger vehicles have significant differences. Most notably, trucks often are thousands of pounds heavier than passenger cars and have more serious consequences if an emergency situation arises. On average, a commercial truck can weigh 20,000 to 80,000 lbs compared to the average weight of a passenger car, which can weigh between 2,900 and 3,800 lbs.
Due to their significant weight, commercial trucks take longer to respond to adverse situations on the road; this can mean taking longer to brake, needing more time to pull over, additional considerations for changing lanes, and needing more space to turn. When passenger cars may be able to quickly adapt to the ever-changing conditions on the road, a commercial truck will need additional time and consideration to be able to navigate highways, freeways, streets, and parking lots safely.
Another significant difference between large trucks and passenger cars are their blind spots. Most passenger cars have two blind spots on either side of the car towards the back. As technology develops, sensors and cameras have helped drivers of passenger vehicles become more aware of objects in their blind spots. On the other hand, commercial trucks have four blind spots around all four sides that are greater in length than a passenger vehicle. According to truck accident experts at Manchin Injury Law Group, “other drivers should stay at least 30 feet from the back of a truck, 20 feet from the front, one lane away from the truck’s left side, and two lanes away from the truck’s right side. This will keep the vehicle out of the truck’s No Zone.”
Tips for Safe Driving Around Trucks
Due to the significant differences between trucks and passenger cars, it is important to use additional caution when driving around trucks. The following tips can help improve your safety and the safety of everyone on the road:
Avoid blind spots and “no zones”
If you can’t see a truck driver in his or her side mirror, chances are, they can’t see you! Stay out of blind spots wherever possible.
Take extra care when passing and being passed by large trucks. If possible, approach from the left side so the driver can see you more easily. Do not speed up and then slow down in front of the truck: keep a consistent speed.
Allot more time
Give plenty of time to your fellow drivers on the road before you switch lanes or merge. Use your turn signal earlier to give everyone time to react accordingly.
Increase your distance
Since large trucks have more weight to move, their ability to respond to adverse situations on the road will take longer. Give large trucks ample room on the road, just in case. Following too closely could result in an underride accident, one of the most devastating types of truck accidents.
Watch for Turns
Large trucks often swing out in the opposite direction in order to accomplish turns. Do not pass a truck that has a turn signal on nor drive between a large truck and a curb to make a turn.
Many truck drivers are held to strict regulations and must follow certain laws, such as laws in place by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA). One of these includes driving below the standard speed limit.
Wear Your Seat Belt
Wearing a seat belt is the law! Choosing to wear a seat belt is one of the safest choices drivers and passengers can make. According to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), seat belts saved an estimated 14,955 lives in 2017. Seat belts can help keep you safer if you are involved in an accident.
Seek Help After a Collision with a Truck
Everyone should exercise caution on the road, not just when approaching large trucks! If you or a loved one was injured in a truck collision, immediately seek medical attention. Then, consider getting in touch with an accident lawyer in your area. Many truck accident attorneys can help during a free consultation and help recover compensation if someone, a trucking company, or government was responsible for the collision.