Truck drivers can cause accidents for many different reasons. They may be too tired to drive. Their cargo may spill. Many truck drivers go too fast because they’re under pressure to make deliveries. One well-known reason for truck accidents is that truck drivers have “blind spots” that make it harder to see the traffic around them. Trucking companies and drivers should be educated on where the blind spots are. The should understand how to navigate their trucks to reduce the risk of blind spot accidents.
Where the truck blind spots are
The blind spots differ from truck to truck depending on the dimensions of the truck and other factors. Blind spots for semis and 18-wheelers are different than they are for box trucks or other types of trucks. Still, there are some common threads to truck blind spots:
- In front of the truck. Most trucks are fairly tall, which means there is a long blind spot right in front of the truck. This is one reason trucks should never tailgate.
- On the truck’s left side. From the cab’s left edge down the truck, visibility can be difficult.
- On the right side. Similar to the left-side blind spot, visibility is difficult from the cab side down the back of the truck.
- In the back of the truck. 18-wheelers and rigs often have difficulty seeing up to 30 feet behind the rear of the truck.
Point of note: visibility for left and ride side blind spots can extend several lanes left and right.
Driver responsibility for truck blind spots
Just as truck drivers need to understand their blind spots, car drivers should appreciate that truck drivers may not see them. It’s better to avoid a truck accident than be in one. Some safety suggestions for car drivers that are near a tractor-trailer or other truck are:
- Avoid tailgating. Not only can’t the truck driver see you if you’re too close, the height of the truck prevents you from seeing traffic signals and road signs that are in front of the truck.
- Don’t take too long to pass. If you decide to pass a truck, the don’t stay beside it. Either signal and move in front of the truck, or fall back behind the driver.
- Don’t move right in front of the truck driver. The blind spot in front of the driver means the truck driver can’t see you and may not be able to stop when he/she does. Trucks need much more time to stop than cars. If you pass a truck, make sure you have plenty of distance between you and the truck when you switch back into the same lane.
- Never pass on the right. Truck drivers are more likely to look for drivers passing on their left. Passing on the right is extremely dangerous. Additionally, trucks make wide right turns. If the truck turns and you’re on the right; you’re in trouble.
The truck driver should anticipate the blinds spots and drive accordingly. Drivers who try to pass on the right may be assuming the risk of accident. In Tennessee, liability can be apportioned. Tennessee follows the doctrine of comparative negligence. This means a jury will assign a percentage amount of fault to each driver. If you are 10% at fault, for example, your damage award will be reduced by 10%. If you are more than 50% liable, you won’t be entitled to any damages.
The Chattanooga truck accident lawyers at Wagner & Wagner Attorneys at Law understand the trucking industry. We understand what rules and regulations apply to truckers and trucking companies. Our attorneys understand the standard operating procedures truck drivers should follow. We try and negotiate truck accident cases in Chattanooga and Cleveland, TN, and in North Georgia. Please call us at 423-799-3532 or fill out our contact form to schedule a free appointment.