Where Are the Blind Spots on a Semi Truck?

Blind spots on semi trucks, also known as “No Zones,” are areas around the vehicle where the driver’s view is obstructed. Due to their large size and design, semi trucks have more significant blind spots compared to passenger vehicles. These areas typically include the space directly behind the trailer, on both sides of the truck extending diagonally back towards the end of the trailer, and immediately in front of the cab. Understanding where these blind spots are located is crucial for both truck drivers and the drivers of other vehicles sharing the road to prevent collisions and ensure safety for all.

The size and position of a semi truck’s blind spots can vary depending on the specific model of the truck and the configuration of the trailer. However, commonly, the largest blind spots are on the right and left sides of the truck. Drivers need to be especially cautious when a semi truck is making turns, changing lanes, or maneuvering in traffic. For other road users, it is important to recognize these blind spots and avoid lingering in them, as the truck driver may not be able to see their vehicle.

Safety on the highways is a shared responsibility, and awareness of semi truck blind spots is a key factor in reducing the risk of accidents. Both commercial truck drivers and passenger car operators must stay informed and attentive to minimize these risks. Truck drivers are taught to check their mirrors regularly and are sometimes aided by advanced technologies such as blind spot detection systems, but these measures cannot replace the need for all drivers to remain vigilant and keep a safe distance when driving near large trucks.

Photo of Truck on Road

Identifying Blind Spots

Semi trucks, due to their large size and length, have significant areas around them where visibility for the driver is significantly limited or completely obstructed. Understanding the location and extent of these blind spots is crucial for both truck drivers and other drivers sharing the road.

Front Blind Spot

The Front Blind Spot is the area directly in front of a semi truck where the driver cannot see other vehicles or obstacles. This blind spot can extend for about 20 feet ahead of the truck’s cab. Drivers in smaller vehicles should maintain a safe distance to remain visible and avoid sudden braking within this area.

Rear Blind Spot

The Rear Blind Spot, also known as the “No-Zone,” is located directly behind the truck’s trailer. Truck drivers cannot see vehicles that are too close to the rear of the trailer through their mirrors. This blind spot typically extends up to 200 feet and poses the risk of undetected vehicles when the truck is changing lanes or stopping.

Left Blind Spot

The Left Blind Spot spans from the immediate left of the driver’s cab extending diagonally towards the back of the trailer. While drivers have more visibility on the left side, due to the position of the side mirrors, a significant area is still prone to blind spot hazards. Vehicles should avoid lingering in this zone, especially when the truck is making left turns.

Right Blind Spot

The Right Blind Spot is the largest and most hazardous due to the position of the driver on the left. The blind area on the right side spans two lanes of traffic and reaches much further back than on the left side. It is extremely risky for other vehicles to overtake or travel alongside the truck on its right as they are likely to be invisible to the truck driver.

Blind Spot Related Accidents

When large trucks engage with smaller vehicles, blind spot related accidents are a common occurrence due to the truck’s size and the driver’s limited field of vision. These accidents can vary significantly in nature but often involve lane changes and merging.

Common Accident Scenarios

Blind spots on a semi truck—areas where the truck driver has limited or zero visibility—often contribute to collisions. The most typical scenarios include:

  • Side Swipes: Occur when a truck changes lanes and hits a vehicle in the adjacent lane that the driver could not see.
  • Rear-End Collisions: Happen when a driver behind the truck does not maintain a safe distance and the truck stops suddenly, hidden from view by the trailer’s bulk.
  • Squeeze Plays: Arise when a truck makes a wide turn and a car on the inside of the turn gets trapped or sideswiped between the truck and the curb.

It is crucial for other vehicles to avoid these blind spots when possible and for truck drivers to take extra precautions before maneuvering.

Legal Considerations

In the case of accidents caused by blind spots, legal accountability and the process of determining negligence involve:

  • Duty of Care: Whether the truck driver adhered to safety standards and regulations to minimize blind spot risks.
  • Driver Negligence: If the other vehicle’s driver failed to avoid the semi’s blind spots, contributing to the accident.
FactorConsideration for Legal Responsibility
VisibilityWas proper signage used to warn about the truck’s blind spots?
ManeuveringWas the lane change or turn signaled and executed safely?
SurveillanceDid the driver perform the necessary checks before maneuvering?

A comprehensive investigation includes reviewing logbooks, witness statements, and possibly vehicular data to establish the sequence of events that led to the accident.

Prevention and Safety

Addressing blind spots on semi trucks is critical for preventing accidents and ensuring safety on roadways. This section outlines key practices for accident prevention, tips for shared road environments, and driving guidelines to increase awareness and safety near semi trucks.

Preventing Accidents

Blind Spot Awareness: Drivers should be aware of the four common blind spots—directly in front, behind, and on both sides of a semi truck—where visibility is compromised. Avoiding these areas, especially when a semi truck is turning, changing lanes, or maneuvering, is essential.

  • Stay Visible: Keep your vehicle visible to semi truck drivers by avoiding lingering in blind spots. If you cannot see the truck’s mirrors, the truck driver likely cannot see you.

Tips for Shared Roadways

Maintaining Safe Distance: Drivers should maintain a safe following distance when behind a semi truck to ensure they remain visible to the truck driver and have enough time to react to sudden stops or changes in speed.

  • Passing Safely: When passing a semi truck, do so quickly and efficiently to minimize the time spent in the truck’s blind spots. Always pass on the left side, as the right side has the largest blind spot.
Photo of Dark Semi Truck

Guidelines for Safe Driving

Defensive Driving Practices: Drivers should use defensive driving techniques when navigating near semi trucks. This includes being alert, anticipating potential hazards, and being prepared to take evasive action if necessary.

  • Signaling Intentions: Utilize turn signals well before making moves to give semi truck drivers time to react. Communication through proper signaling is key to preventing misunderstandings and potential accidents.

Contact Our Law Firm After a Truck Accident

Semi trucks have larger blind spots compared to passenger vehicles, which are critical for road safety to acknowledge. These blind spots, known as “No-Zones,” are located:

  • Directly in front: extending for 20 feet
  • On the left side: immediately behind the driver’s side mirror
  • On the right side: spanning two lanes of traffic
  • Directly in the rear: reaching up to 200 feet

Drivers should remember that if they cannot see the truck’s mirrors, the truck driver cannot see them. Remaining visible to truck drivers and avoiding these No-Zones can significantly reduce the risk of collisions.

Tips for sharing the road with semi trucks include:

  1. Passing quickly and safely to minimize time spent in No-Zones.
  2. Avoiding tailgating, which places a vehicle in the rear blind spot.
  3. Being cautious when merging near a semi truck, ensuring visibility.
  4. Anticipating wide turns and giving trucks ample space.

Truck drivers are trained to check their mirrors frequently, but they rely on other road users to stay out of blind spots. Cooperation between truck drivers and other motorists is essential for maintaining safety on the highways. If you’ve recently been in an accident with a truck, a lawyer for truck accidents from Kirsch & Kirsch, LLC can help you. Contact us today to move your claim forward.