What Can You Do to Avoid Blind Spot Accidents in Indiana?
As essential as semi trucks are to the economy, the reality is that they are sometimes at the center of devastating accidents that the people of Indiana must deal with. It's not hard to understand why this is the case when considering the size of a large commercial truck compared to other vehicles, which tend to be much smaller.
On the matter of size, fatal truck accidents may happen because of blind spot accidents, which are some of the more unavoidable ones since it was probably not possible to identify the danger in time or at all before the eventual tragedy struck.
Tractor-trailer drivers have more and larger blind spots than standard passenger vehicles and avoiding being a victim to one of these accidents requires understanding where the lines of responsibility lie and the best way to avoid lingering in places that are deemed dangerous.
Understanding Blind Spots
As a new driver, blind spots form an essential topic that everyone must learn about since they will need to deal with them. When looking forward or through rearview mirrors, some areas of the road will not be seen, and these are known as blind spots.
Using passenger vehicles, for example, blind spots will typically lie within the region of the vehicle's rear quarter. Think of the spot behind the driver and to the side. Some drivers will try to compensate for the reduced visibility by adjusting their mirrors to certain positions or turning their heads behind them to see what is on either side.
Note that the latter presents a safety hazard and is not recommended. Contact Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys for questions like what can you do to avoid truck tire blowouts in Indiana?
Where Do Blind Spots Lie for Truck Drivers in Indiana?
When talking about truck blind spots, it's essential to consider what a trailer physically looks like. Under normal circumstances, it's going to be about 65 to 75 feet. This is attached behind the cab, which is large in its own right. Therefore, other drivers need to be aware of the fact that there are quite a few unsafe areas to be driving in although there is a driver-side and passenger-side mirror.
For truck drivers, the blind spot on the passenger side is extremely large, consisting of two or three lanes in width. While there is a blind spot on the driver's side, it is a lot smaller, which is why motorists are advised to pass trucks on the left side where the driver is.
Even though the mirrors on a truck tend to be large and are often even comprised of multiple individual pieces, it's simply not possible to cover every angle to give the driver a complete view of what is happening.
There is also a height constraint to be aware of. Since trucks are so high off the ground, drivers may also not be able to see low-riding cars or any vehicle that is too close in front of the truck.
Behind the truck is also pretty unsafe since anything there within 30 feet is basically invisible to the driver. While it may be easy enough to compensate for the blind spots that a passenger vehicle may have, truck blind spots are not so easy to compensate for, so avoiding blind spot accidents means drivers need to know how to approach a situation when they either need to be close to or go past a semi-truck.
Here's How You Drive Near Large Trucks to Avoid a Blind Spot Accident
Driving near semi-trucks requires a heightened level of caution or awareness. Beyond the blind spot challenges, there is also the maneuvering side of things, which is also not the easiest for these large vehicles. Here are some safety tips that should go a long way in helping those driving near a large truck to stay safe:
Don't stay too close to the semi-trucks. Unlike cars, trucks need more distance before they can come to a complete stop. The difference is somewhere around 63 feet, assuming both vehicles are traveling at 55 miles per hour. Therefore, if behind a truck, it's recommended to stay about four or five car lengths away.
Pay attention to the blind spots. As indicated before, trucks have larger blind spots than cars do. One thing drivers can do is look for the reflection of a truck driver in the side mirror. If the truck driver cannot be seen, the chances are that there's no visibility of the passenger vehicle either.
Don't linger if an overtake needs to happen. It's always recommended to proceed as quickly and as safely as possible. Additionally, overtake on the left side, considering that the blind spot is a lot smaller than on the right. Before pulling in front of the truck, ensure that it's possible to see the reflection of the front of the cab. Downhill overtakes are not recommended, considering that weight means trucks will pick up speed.
Trucks turn very widely since the extra room will be needed to get the cab and the trailer around a corner effectively. This room is particularly important for a truck that is turning right. Once a truck has its blinkers on, other vehicle drivers are advised to resist the urge to try to squeeze by it. Additionally, it's not good practice to block the box since a truck will need that space to make a safe turn.
Try to stay as visible as possible when driving near trucks. This means that even during periods such as dusk and dawn, keeping headlights on is a good idea. Taillights help to tell truck drivers that someone is in front of them.
Patience is key. Passenger car drivers sometimes don't realize or remember that truck drivers have operating restrictions that they must remain within. For example, some trucks will use speed limiters. Aggressive driving is a no-no and could be the very thing that leads to an unfortunate accident.
No vehicle should be cut off, but it's especially important not to do this to a truck driver since these larger vehicles require more space. During the process of cutting in front of a truck, the driver may not see the smaller vehicle. The challenge here is that by the time the truck driver does see the car, there may not be enough time to stop to avoid a collision happening.
If a truck is passing on the left, stay on the right and slow down. Not only does this mean the truck can proceed safely, but it also means that the passenger car can get out of the blind spot safely.
Remember the No-Zones on Commercial Trucks
It's common to be told to avoid truck no-zones. While the concept may sound foreign initially, it simply speaks to staying away from the blind spots on commercial trucks. While there are times when being in them will either be necessary or unavoidable, the best course of action is to try to stay out of them as much as possible.
This means remaining at least 20 feet in front of the truck, not driving beside the truck, and staying about five car lengths behind the truck.
Driving in a truck's blind spot to the right for an extended period may lead to the all too familiar situation where the truck driver chooses to change lanes and collides with a passenger car it simply could not see.
Minimizing Your Own Blind Spots
While it's not possible to eliminate the large and numerous blind spots that a truck may have, motorists can take steps to deal with their own blind spots on the road as much as possible. The best approach to take is to identify them and reduce their size as much as possible, which will make the chances of a traffic collision much less likely.
To do this, start by sitting in the driver's seat as normal and examine the field of view, using the mirrors and without a head turn. After registering what can be seen, it then becomes possible to look around to identify what couldn't be seen, which constitutes the blind spots. The idea here is to try to adjust the mirrors as much as possible to minimize them.
Whenever there is a seat repositioning, it's a good idea to check the mirrors and adjust them again.
Types of Damages Recovered
As a victim of a truck accident where the truck driver or an associated party was negligent, an expert attorney can help with recovering certain categories of damages.
The first category is economic damages, which consist of those with a monetary value that can be ascertained via proper documentation such as lost wages.
There is also the non-economic category consisting of quality of life elements such as loss of function. Expert truck accident attorneys will need to evaluate these to decide what kind of settlement should be requested.
Let a Passionate and Competent Attorney Help You to File a Claim Against a Negligent Truck Driver!
It's important to do everything possible to avoid being the cause of a blind spot accident. Even in doing that, sometimes truck drivers or trucking companies are negligent and people still get hurt. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can also explain what you can do to avoid underride accidents in Indiana.
If you or a loved one was injured in a truck accident in Indiana because of someone else's negligence, let a caring and compassionate lawyer go to war for you!
Schedule a free consultation with Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys today!