Blind spots are areas around cars and trucks that can’t be seen through the rearview and side mirrors. Although all vehicles have blind spots, commercial trucks have the largest ones. Transportation officials call these areas the No Zones.
Truck drivers have a responsibility to check their blind spots carefully. Similarly, motorists should be aware of the extra dangers posed by tractor trailers and take precautions to avoid driving in a No Zone. When someone fails in those duties, a blind spot truck accident can occur and have catastrophic consequences.
Were you injured in a Fort Wayne truck accident? You could be owed substantial compensation from the parties that caused the crash. Schedule a free consultation with an experienced truck accident attorney at Truitt Law Offices today. Our legal team will enforce your rights and demand maximum compensation for your losses.
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Where Are the Blind Spots on an 18-Wheeler?
A tractor trailer has positions of low or no visibility at the front, sides, and rear end of the vehicle, including:
- The spot directly behind the trailer, extending back as far as 30 feet
- The areas directly to the right and left sides of the trailer, especially below and behind the driver’s window, and towards the rear of the trailer
- A diagonal region to the right of the cab, extending across two lanes
- The area directly ahead of the cab, extending up to 20 feet in front of the truck
Avoiding the No Zones is the best defense a driver has to avoid a blind spot truck crash. Truckers must also be vigilant about checking their mirrors and being aware of their surroundings before taking any actions, such as merging into traffic or changing lanes.
Why Are Tractor Trailer Blind Spots So Large?
There are several reasons why trucks have such big blind spots. The average semi-truck is about 72 feet long, including the trailer, and mirrors are unable to display surroundings for the entire length. In addition, large trucks that pull a trailer do not have a rearview mirror. They must rely on their side mirrors for visibility.
Another reason that a truck’s blind spots are so large is that truckers sit very high up in the cab. They may not be able to see objects and obstacles that are low to the ground, which pretty much includes every other car on the road.
What Are the Common Causes of Blind Spot Truck Accidents?
The blind spots on an 18-wheeler limit the driver’s ability to see other drivers and react to nearby traffic. Some typical accident scenarios include:
- The trucker does not see an object or vehicle within the 20-foot blind spot directly in front of him/her and fails to stop in time to avoid a crash. Large trucks require several seconds and hundreds of feet to stop. At 55 miles per hour, a semi will need about 122 feet for the truck driver to begin to brake and about 390 feet more for the rig to come to a stop — a total of 512 feet.
- Another vehicle is following behind the truck too closely and is within the driver’s rear blind spot. Other motorists should leave at least five seconds between their vehicles and the truck in front of them.
- A smaller vehicle or motorcycle changes lanes too quickly or drives too closely in the side blind spots of a semi. If the truck switches lanes, the driver may not spot the nearby vehicle in time to avoid a collision.
Who Is Held Liable in a Blind Spot Truck Accident?
Liability for a blind spot accident can be assigned to multiple parties. These include:
- The trucker: Truck drivers should know their blind spots and check them before making any traffic maneuvers. Failure to check a blind spot is a negligent action and the truck driver may be held liable if an accident occurs.
- The trucking company: It takes specific training and licensure to drive a commercial truck. Truck companies are responsible for doing a background check on any drivers that they hire. If an untrained driver causes a blind spot accident, the truck company may be held liable for negligent hiring.
- Auto and parts manufacturers: Truckers rely on their mirrors to prevent them from crashing into other vehicles, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians. If there are defects that prevent a driver from seeing around its No Zones, the designer and/or manufacturer of those parts could be held responsible for a blind spot accident.
- Other drivers: Just as truck drivers are required to check their blind spots, other motorists are expected to exercise caution around tractor trailers to prevent a wreck. Following too closely, lingering in a truck’s blind spot, or cutting in front of a truck without leaving enough space can result in deadly crashes that may have been unavoidable even for the most experienced trucker.
It’s very possible for more than one party to be held liable in a truck accident. A knowledgeable accident attorney can investigate the crash to determine what happened and how fault should be distributed.
What Types of Accidents Occur Because of a Truck’s Blind Spots?
Common types of blind spot accidents include:
- Rear-end collisions: These happen when a truck hits a vehicle in its front blind spot, or when a truck brakes suddenly and is rear-ended by another vehicle that is trailing in its blind spot.
- Sideswipes: These often occur when a trucker does not see a vehicle in its side blind spot and tries makes a lane change.
- T-bone crashes: When a truck driver doesn’t clear his or her blind spots before making a turn, the truck could crash directly into the side of an oncoming vehicle.
Because semi-trucks vastly outweigh passenger cars, any type of crash can cause serious trauma to accident victims. The lifetime costs of living with catastrophic injuries can easily reach into the millions. A successful personal injury claim can recoup these losses and help victims plan for whatever the future holds.
Contact a Fort Wayne Truck Accident Lawyer
If you were hurt or lost a loved one in a blind spot truck accident in Fort Wayne, you deserve full and fair compensation for your losses. Put the accomplished attorneys at Truitt Law Offices to work for you. Call now for a free consultation.