Commercial trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, making them more than 40 times average weight of a passenger car. Due to this massive disparity and the requirements for driving such a large vehicle appropriately, drivers must operate their trucks safely and make good decisions at all times.
It’s a common misconception that truck drivers can see all simply because they sit higher up and have larger mirrors, but this is not always the case. Although truck drivers are thoroughly trained to use care and caution at all times on the road, it can, oftentimes, be difficult to see certain areas around the truck. Other than encouraging truckers to practice more caution, another method is to educate drivers on where these blind spots tend to be.
While a truck driver can clearly see what is in front of them on the road, they usually have limited visibility on the sides and back of the truck due to notable blind spots at various points. Because of this, blind spots require extra caution when passing or being passed by a truck.
Blind spots are also called “no-zones”, and a car cannot be seen in these spots. Smaller vehicles need to stay out of these areas whenever possible, especially when the truck is turning, backing up, or switching lanes. Extreme caution should be exercised in these specific zones:
The Front no-zone spans to roughly 20 feet in front of the truck, and you should be careful not to cut in front of a truck too closely.
The rear no-zone is around 200 feet behind the truck. While drivers have mirrors, their rear blind spot is quite extensive.
Side no-zones apply to both sides of the truck, but the area is larger on the right side.
This is a general rule that you should always assume, meaning that you should always pass quickly on the left side whenever possible.
Also, since truckers must take wide right turns, do not try to squeeze past them as this is occurring. Always watch for turn signals and give plenty of room to truck drivers.