Understanding Truck Blind Spots
I-35, Hwy 281, and I-20 are just a few of the dozens of major highways that run through Texas. While the transport trucks that use these routes deliver the goods and services people need, they can be quite dangerous to the smaller vehicles they share the road with. Injury rates from truck accidents in the Greater Houston area are particularly high, and the entire state sees 2,000 injuries and almost 300 deaths from the 15,000 trucking accidents that occur every year on average.
Many of these accidents involve a passenger vehicle traveling in a truck’s blind spot, which is why it is important for all drivers to understand where these spots are and how to avoid them.
The blind spots surrounding a transport truck are much larger than those of passenger vehicles. The areas very close to the front and back of the truck are both blind spots.
The blind spot in front of the truck, at about 20 feet, is the smaller of the two. The blind spot at the back is much larger and can be up to 200 feet long. For this reason, it is imperative all cars remain far back when following a truck; and if another vehicle enters this space, to remain far back from them as well, in case the truck doesn’t see the vehicle and hits it.
The blind spots on the sides of a truck also differ in size, with the largest being the blind spot on the right. This blind spot takes up most of the right-hand side of the truck, specifically the area of the trailer the truck is hauling. It is very difficult for truck drivers to see any vehicles on their right-hand side even if they are right beside the passenger mirror, since truck drivers sit very high and cannot see immediately beside or below where they are sitting.
The blind spot on the left-hand side of the truck is smaller. On this side drivers cannot see what is directly to the left of the driver’s side mirror. However, the truck driver will most likely be able to see vehicles further back along the left side of the trailer.
When traveling alongside trucks, the general guideline for other drivers is to ensure they can see the truck driver’s face in the side mirrors, or through the window of the truck. If they can see the driver’s face, the driver can probably see them.
Just as drivers of passenger vehicles must check their blind spots, truck drivers must check theirs as well. They must adjust their side mirrors to have maximum visibility, and check their blind spots to the best of their ability to keep other drivers safe.