The universal rule stands true – if you cannot see the truck driver in their side mirror, they also cannot see you.
There is an assumption that since a truck is enormous and more elevated from the ground, the driver has a better view of the road. However, the reality is that a truck’s massive size results in larger blind spots. These are specific areas in the truck – front, back and both sides – not visible to the driver.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) refers to them as “no zones.” They reiterate that other drivers with smaller vehicles must observe extra precautions when driving around them.
Staying out of a truck’s blind spots
The FMCSA recognizes that driving around trucks requires heightened vigilance because they have operational limitations. Thus, they remind drivers never to linger around them because it only increases the risk of a catastrophic crash. Instead, you must:
- Signal early and clearly: Show the truck driver that you intend to pass or overtake, giving them ample time and space to prepare.
- Avoid moving in too closely: Tailgating is dangerous because trucks have long stopping distances. The driver may be unable to slow down in time to prevent an accident.
- Wait patiently: Trucks have restricted maneuverability, which means it may take time for a driver to change lanes or make wide turns. Further, aggressive honking can only aggravate the situation.
The FMCSA also reiterates that other standard road rules apply when driving around trucks, such as buckling up, eliminating distractions, and steering clear of drugs, alcohol or any substance that can impair your focus and reaction time.
Defensive driving can save lives
Defensive driving means following these safety tips to reduce the risk of suffering fatal consequences in a collision. However, when collisions do occur, truck drivers and their trucking companies may try to shift the blame to you by claiming that you were not in their line of sight. You must understand that this argument does not necessarily mean they have a valid defense. In fact, they may indirectly admit fault by stating that they failed to observe safe driving. Your Colorado counsel can guide you in dealing with these complex situations and advocate for your rights in recovering the compensation you need to heal.