About 70 feet long and weighing up to 40 tons fully-loaded, large commercial trucks require much more time and space to stop, perform passing maneuvers and make turns.
Semis also have four major blind spots. These “no-zones” extend about 10 to 20 feet in front of the truck’s cab, up to 200 feet behind the trailer and along both sides. For motorists, avoiding these blind spots may help to prevent a potentially deadly collision.
1. Maintain a safe following distance
The no-zone behind a semi extends about two-thirds the length of a football field behind the trailer. To help ensure visibility to truck operators, drivers should maintain a following distance of at least four seconds: more if weather or traffic conditions are poor.
2. Perform passing maneuvers quickly
Large side blind spots mean that drivers may not be visible when passing a semi. To avoid staying in the no-zone for too long, motorists should make sure to perform passing maneuvers carefully but quickly.
3. Watch for trucks making right turns
Oversized trucks often need to swing wide when making a right turn. At intersections, motorists should watch out for trucks that may need to turn and require extra space in both adjacent lanes to do so.
Unfortunately, from truck driver inattention, impairment or fatigue to mechanical failure, even a careful motorist may not be able to avoid a collision with a commercial vehicle. Drivers and their families should know that negligence on the part of a trucking company, truck operator or vehicle manufacturer may entitle them to needed compensation for medical bills, lost income and more.