Where Are a Semi-Truck’s Blind Spots?
Semi-trucks, also called 18-wheelers when pulling a trailer, are among the largest vehicles a driver can frequently encounter on the road. Although semi-trucks typically have at least two side-mounted rear-view mirrors, they still have large blind spots where drivers cannot see any vehicles or pedestrians.
Being in a semi-truck’s blind spot significantly increases the risk of a catastrophic accident and traumatic injuries. Knowing where these blind spots are and how to pass a truck safely can help you avoid a devastating accident.
Learn how to identify semi-truck blind spots and how Brian Hodgkiss Injury Lawyers can help if you are involved in a collision.
Like typical passenger cars and light trucks, semi-trucks pulling trailers have blind spots. Blind spots are angles where vehicles, pedestrians, and other objects are obscured from the driver’s view.
However, while a typical car has 2 relatively short blind spots on each side, the road safety resources from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or FMCSA, indicate that a semi-truck has 4 blind spots, and each one is much larger than a car’s. The FMCSA identifies each blind spot as follows:
- Driver-Side Blind Spot (Left)
The driver-side blind spot is a single lane wide and approximately 15 to 20 feet long, or about 1 to 1.5 car lengths, starting from the driver-side mirrors.
- Passenger-Side Blind Spot (Right)
Semi-trucks pulling trailers lack rear-view mirrors, forcing drivers to rely on side-mounted mirrors. Because the driver’s side is on the left of a vehicle, semi-truck drivers have a significant blind spot on the passenger side: 2 lanes wide and 15 to 30 feet long, about 1 to 2 car lengths, starting from the passenger-side mirror.
- Behind the Truck (Rear)
The lack of a rear-view mirror means semi-truck drivers cannot see directly behind the trailer for at least 30 feet, or about 2 car lengths.
- In Front of the Truck (Front)
Due to the driver’s seat height and the length of a typical semi truck’s hood, these vehicles are among the few with a blind spot directly ahead of them. The front blind spot is approximately 20 feet long, about 1.5 car lengths, starting from the front bumper.
Semi-truck drivers can’t avoid you if they can’t see you, putting you and your vehicle at risk of being hit or pinned between the semi-truck and another roadside object.
The following tips can help you safely pass semi-trucks and avoid getting stuck in their blind spots:
- Check the truck driver’s side mirrors. Typically, you can tell if you are in a truck’s blind spot if you can’t see the driver’s reflection in their side mirror.
- Use the short left-hand blind spot to your advantage and always pass a semi-truck on their left side as quickly as legally possible.
- Never try to pass a truck on their right side, even if it’s legal (Wisconsin 346.08). Due to the size of the right-hand blind spot and the large turning radius of a semi-truck, a truck driver can start turning into your vehicle without realizing you’re there.
- Do not slow down or maintain speed while inside a blind spot.
- If you are driving behind a semi-truck, leave at least 2 car lengths or more between your vehicle and the back of the trailer so the driver can see you.
- Truck drivers need 40% more time than cars to brake safely. If you’re inside the truck’s front blind spot, the truck driver won’t have enough space to avoid your vehicle even when braking. Never cut in front of a semi-truck driver; always maintain a safe distance between your car and the semi-truck.
Traffic accidents involving semi-trucks are often severe and complex. If you or a loved one is involved in this type of accident, commercial truck crash lawyers in Wisconsin have the resources to help you.
Our experienced lawyers investigate the circumstances leading to the accident, gather evidence, document injuries, and help you identify the parties responsible for the damages suffered. Possible parties at fault can include:
- Semi-truck drivers
- Trucking companies employing the drivers
- Local and state government entities, for maintaining dangerous roads
- Truck and truck parts manufacturers, for example, for defective parts
- Loading and shipping entities for improperly secured cargo
Your lawyers can fight on your behalf to get fair compensation for your injuries, giving you the peace of mind you need while recovering.
At Brian Hodgkiss Injury Lawyers, we understand the dangers that commercial truck crashes pose to other road users. If you are a victim of a semi-truck driver’s negligence or involved in a semi-truck accident, our skilled team is here for you.
Schedule a free, confidential consultation by calling our law office or sending us a message online to start your case.