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A truck's blind spots are called "no zones" and include the area around the trucks where your car is no longer visible or you are so close that the truck can't stop or maneuver safely. When you are in a no zone you are in much greater danger of getting into a collision.
Most drivers in California automatically become more mindful of their driving and their surroundings when they find themselves sharing the road with a semi-truck, also known as a big-rig. Due to their size and height, semi-trucks have several large blind spots where a car or small truck can virtually “disappear” from a truck driver’s view. While many car accidents are unavoidable, here are a few steps you can take as a driver to protect yourself and your passengers from an accident that could lead to serious injury or death.
Watch this short California DMV video showing a commercial truck driver's blind spots.
4 major “no-zones” for trucks that you need to avoid:
1. The Front
Don’t cut a large semi-truck or 18-wheeler off because it is much more difficult for a large truck to slow down. You should allow at least 1 car length per 10 mph you’re traveling (60 mph would equal 6 lengths). Make sure you never cut in front of a truck and immediately slow down.
2. The Right Side
The right side is the largest truck blind spot, so it is crucial that you avoid passing a truck on the right side. If you can’t see the truck driver in his side mirror, he can't see you either. If you have to pass, make sure you pass on the left side and avoid driving alongside a truck on the right side, even on wide lane highways.
3. The Left Side
Similar to the right side, it is best to avoid driving alongside a semi-truck other than for passing. When you do need to pass a truck driver, do so as quickly as possible so that you get back into their visibility range. While the driver has a little more visibility on the left side compared to the right side, it’s still best to stay away from this smaller no-zone.
4. The Rear
Driving behind a truck in the rear no-zone can be very risky, as you may not be able to slow down soon enough. Also, the truck driver can’t see you when you are tailgating them.
There is an important unwritten rule when driving next to a semi-truck: “If you see the truck driver’s face in their side mirrors, then the driver can see you, and you know you are not in a blind spot.” The same could be said of the opposite: “If you cannot see the truck driver’s face in their side mirrors, then they cannot see you. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that they have no idea that you driving next to or behind them.” Make sure that you can see the driver’s face.
A semi-truck can have side mirrors that are up to 25 inches tall and some can have cameras installed, but it doesn’t mean the driver can see everything around them, especially if you are driving in a No-Zone area.
For quality legal representation, please contact our personal injury attorneys of Sacramento & Elk Grove-based O'Brien & Zehnder Law Firm by calling 1-800-722-4176 or send us an email and someone from our office will be in touch with you shortly.
DISCLAIMER: This article is not a substitute for legal advice and in no way constitutes legal advice or gives rise to an attorney-client relationship. Adequate counsel is fact-dependent and requires independent analysis and inquiry specific to your situation and circumstances. This article is simply meant as a guide to explain in general and brief terms certain issues and serves to provide general information. Contact O'Brien & Zehnder Law Firm at 916-714-8200 if you require legal help or wish to seek legal advice for your specific legal issue(s).