Most motorists know that truck drivers must have a special license, called a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), to be able to operate tractor-trailers. Some drivers may also know that truck drivers must follow a strict set of rules when operating a tractor-trailer. However, many drivers don’t realize that these large trucks have operating limitations that are very different from the limitations of passenger vehicles.
One of the most important limitations to consider is the vehicle’s blind spots. Because of the size and shape of commercial trucks, they have large blind spots on all four sides.
Where are the ‘No Zones’?
These blind spots are sometimes called “No Zones” because they are areas where other motorists should avoid driving. These no zones extend 20 feet in front of the truck, 30 feet behind the truck, one lane over on the driver’s side of the truck and two lanes over on the passenger’s side of the truck.
To stay out of the no zones, a driver may need to avoid following a truck too closely and avoid cutting in front of a truck. If it is necessary to pass a commercial truck, it may be safest to pass swiftly on the driver’s side of the truck. This can minimize the time spent in a blind spot.
Motorists are not the only ones responsible for safety
There are ways motorists can improve their safety when sharing the road with commercial trucks. However, that does not necessarily mean that a motorist is responsible for a crash that occurs while they are in a blind spot. A thorough investigation of the incident could reveal other factors that could have caused or contributed to the cause of a crash.
The driver may have been speeding, may have failed to use a turn signal or may have neglected to check mirrors. The trucking company may have pushed the trucker to drive longer than he should have or may not have provided adequate training. The cargo may have been improperly loaded or important vehicle maintenance may have been delayed.
Any number of actions could have caused or contributed to the cause of a crash. When a truck driver, trucking company or other related company violates Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, they can be held at fault for the resulting crash.