Safely Navigating the Trucking “No-Zone”
August 31, 2017
Safe driving takes a concerted effort from all drivers. Semi trucks create a particular challenge on the road due to their sheer size and the number of blind spots they create. All drivers need to be aware of what is known as the “no-zone” relative to tractor-trailers to ensure that they remain visible at all times and can see and anticipate the movement of other vehicles and pedestrians on the road.
Here at KBG Injury Law, we take your safety seriously and want you to make it home safely every day. Take a moment to understand the trucking “no-zone” definition so you stay visible to tractor-trailers on the highway and the street as well as learn how many “no-zones” a truck has. It can mean the difference between an uneventful commute and a serious or even tragic accident.
The Four “No-Zones”
There are four blind spot zones for tractor-trailers and semis. While passenger vehicles — like cars, trucks, vans and SUVs — have blind spot zones to both sides, these are much smaller than for a semi truck and are easy to check. In the case of large tractor-trailers, these blind spots can be impossible to check and many accidents between semis and other vehicles occur because of these dangerous “no-zones.”
The four “no-zones” are:
To the Front
The front “no-zone” exists because semi trucks have such a high and long front end. Imagine placing a shoe box in front of your car, close to the bumper. That is the front blind spot for your car. In the case of a tractor-trailer, that blind spot is so large, it can hide an entire vehicle. It is important on the highway to stay well ahead of the front “no-zone,” approximately one car length for every 10 mph you are traveling. Even if a semi driver can see you, their stopping distance is much greater than yours, so never cut in front of a semi and maintain enough distance to stay well out of the front “no-zone.”
To the Rear
The rear “no-zone” is equally important to avoid. Due to the length of the trailer, a semi driver has absolutely no visibility directly behind their rig. If you have ever driven with the back of your vehicle loaded and the rear window blocked, you understand how difficult this can make changing lanes and turning left or right. This is what a tractor-trailer driver experiences every day, so avoid driving too close behind a semi in the rear “no-zone.” The other problem with driving too close to a tractor-trailer is that you can’t see what is happening in front or to the sides of the trailer. Leave ample space to stop safely and observe what is going on around you.
To the Left
The left blind spot is similar to the blind spot you have with your own passenger vehicle, but it’s much larger for a semi driver. The left “no-zone” can easily hide a vehicle or even another semi truck, presenting a huge risk when the driver goes to change lanes or turn to the left. While you are beside the trailer, your vehicle is visible to the driver when they check their left mirror, but you start to enter their blind spot as you reach the level of the cab. When passing a tractor-trailer you have no choice but to pass through the left blind spot, so always do so quickly and get back into the driver’s field of vision as soon as possible.
To the Right
The right “no-zone” is significantly larger than the blind spot on the left and is one of the most common causes of tractor-trailer/vehicle accidents. While a semi driver has an obligation to ensure that the right lane is clear when turning or changing lanes, you can do your part to make the roads safer by avoiding driving in their right blind spot. Always avoid passing on the right. Instead, pass on the left to remain more visible to the tractor-trailer driver. When a tractor-trailer driver passes you on the left side, they put you into their right “no-zone” momentarily, so be extremely vigilant and adjust your speed accordingly so that you quickly exit their “no-zone” and become visible again.
It is possible for all drivers to make the roads safer. It only takes a moment for an accident to occur, so give yourself and your family the best chance of getting home without incident by keeping the trucking “no-zones” in mind every time you drive. If you are involved in an accident with a semi or other vehicle, we invite you to schedule a free consult with our team here at KBG Injury Law. We will work hard to get the results you deserve.