If you have a driver’s license, you’re aware that every vehicle has one or more blind spots. Your passenger vehicle has sideview and rearview mirrors, and maybe even backup cameras, to minimize your blind spots and help reduce the chance of a backing-up accident. You may also have had close calls, or witnessed them, where other drivers ignored blind spots and nearly collided with your car.
The same is true, on a much larger scale, with commercial trucks and 18-wheelers. With their vehicles so much longer and bigger in size than passenger vehicles, trucks’ blind spots are much more extensive. And, trucking blind spot accidents here in Tennessee can result in serious wrecks with catastrophic injuries and fatalities.
What is a blind spot?
Every car, pickup, SUV, and truck has areas with little-to-zero visibility. On commercial trucks, these areas vary by type and model, but truck blind spots typically include:
- Front of truck – Commercial trucks are very tall, so most trucks have a blind spot extending about 20 feet in front.
- Left side of truck – Another blind spot is the left side of the truck, running from the edge of the cab the entire length of the truck. This blind spot, depending on the truck, could be as wide as a few lanes of traffic.
- Right side of the truck – The right side blind spot is basically a mirror image of the left side.
- Rear of the truck – The blind spot behind the truck can extend out about 30 feet.
As you can see, these are large areas. An entire car or SUV can hide in one of these blind spots, and if a Tennessee truck driver isn’t careful, they can miss a vehicle going in and out of what’s called the “no-zone.”
Common truck blind spot accidents
When a trucker fails to pay attention to their surroundings or a car ends up in a truck’s blind spot, it’s likely an accident will happen. Common accidents resulting from blind spots include rear-end collisions and side collisions.
A truck has a front blind spot so big, a trucker can miss seeing a vehicle directly in front of their cab and be unable to stop in time – or not all – to prevent an accident. Or, if a car is in a truck’s side “no-zone” and the trucker changes lanes without properly checking first, the trucker could run the car off the road.
Negligence in blind spot accidents
Although truck drivers should always show caution on the road and respect big rigs, careless or reckless truck drivers cause many blind spot accidents. As mentioned earlier, trucks have “no-zones” that all drivers should be aware of, but that doesn’t absolve truckers of responsibility or liability in the event of a trucking accident.
Truck drivers must follow the rules of the road just like everyone else, and part of their job is remaining alert to hazards like blind spots. Safe truckers should be cognizant to when and where other vehicles are entering or exiting their blind spots – never driving distracted or drowsy, and missing these cues and putting others on the road at risk.
Negligent or careless truck drivers might cause a blind spot accident if they:
- Don’t have the truck mirrors installed properly
- Don’t align the mirrors properly to reduce blind spots effectively
- Fail to look for other vehicles around their truck
- Fail to check blind spots before making a traffic maneuver
- Don’t have the right training to drive that type of truck
- Don’t have the proper required collision avoidance systems
- Drive while drowsy or under the influence of drugs or alcohol
If you were involved in a truck blind spot accident, there could be more than one person or entity responsible for your crash. For example, the truck driver could be responsible. However, the trucking company may also be responsible, as the trucker is its employee, acting as their representative within the scope of their employment at the time of the accident. Perhaps the company improperly trained the driver.
Our truck accident attorneys investigate every aspect of your accident, including whether or not the truck that collided with you had the proper collision-avoidance technology installed and operating correctly. We understand that what may seem to be a simple accident could have many layers of negligence and responsibility, and our goal is to ensure you’re compensated for your injuries to the maximum amount possible.
What personal injury compensation should you seek after your truck accident?
After any serious accident, you’ll likely find yourself with injuries and unexpected and unwanted bills. When your accident and injuries aren’t your fault, you have the right to seek compensation from the responsible party for past and future losses, including:
- Medical bills and expenses
- Loss of paycheck and wages
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of earning capacity
- Property damage
How can you stay out of truck blind spots?
A semi-truck has three blind spots: one on either side of the trailer, one in back, and one directly in front. Here are some ways to dodge these blind spots:
- Avoid driving directly on either side of a truck. Stay slightly in front or slightly in back in another lane.
- Don’t drive right behind a truck. They can’t see you. If they happen to stop short, you could be in store for a terrible crash. Abide by the four-second-follow rule, or 20 to 25 car lengths away.
- Cutting directly in front of a truck could be very dangerous. If you appear right in front of them without warning, it may not give them enough time to brake.
- To be safe, stay in sight of a truck’s mirrors.
If possible, safely pass a truck on the highway. Always pass on the left and give yourself plenty of room. But, don’t speed to pass a truck and be mindful of other cars.
More truck safety tips:
- Stay far, far away when trucks are turning either right or left.
- Don’t be aggressive with truck drivers. Be respectful of their right to be on the road.
- Report truckers who seem to be driving reckless by calling the police and/or their trucking company. The company’s number is usually on the back of the trailer.
If you’ve suffered an injury in a truck blind spot accident, talk to the Tennessee personal injury attorneys at the Rocky McElhaney Law Firm today. Our decades of extensive experience with commercial trucks give us the know-how to investigate your accident and find out who or what was responsible. Call our lawyers today at 615-425-2500 or use our contact form to schedule an appointment. We have offices in Nashville, Clarksville and Hendersonville, for your convenience.