Many motorists don’t understand how tractor trailers work, which inadvertently puts them in harms way. Understanding the unique features of tractor trailers can reduce the potential for injury or death in a tractor trailer accident.
Recognizing and Avoiding the “No Zone”
The United States Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) refers to the tractor trailer’s four large blind spots as “no zones.” These “no zones” include:
- The 20 feet in front of a tractor trailer
- The 30 feet behind the truck
- The two lanes to the right of the truck that extend from the cab to the back of the trailer
- The lane to the left of the truck, from the cab to half way to the back of the trailer
Motorists are encouraged to stay out of the “no zones” as much as possible.
Passing a Tractor Trailer
Because of these large blind spots, tractor trailers should be approached and passed with caution. In preparation of passing a tractor trailer, you should signal your turn, making certain that you are well behind the 30 foot blind spot behind the tractor trailer. Once signaled, move to the left lane and pass the truck quickly. Do not remain in the blind spot on the side of the truck. When you have passed the truck, be mindful of the blind spot in front of the tractor trailer. A safe bet is to avoid moving back into the lane in front of the truck until you can easily see the truck’s grill in your rearview mirror.
Trucks and Turn Lanes
Tractor trailers need much more room to turn than the average car. As a result, it is not uncommon for a tractor trailer driver to initiate a turn from the middle lane, rather than the far-right lane, as a car might do. When you see a truck with its right turn signal on, always assume the driver is attempting to make a right turn, even if the truck is not squarely in the right turn lane. Never try to squeeze by a truck on the right if the right turn signal on. The blind spot on the right side of the truck extends further out and further back than on the left, which means that the driver may not see you and you could be crushed.
Have You Been in a Tractor Trailer Accident?
At Hilton & Somer, LLC, we have helped countless tractor trailer accident victims in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia. If you have been injured in the DMV, our tractor trailer injury attorneys can help. You may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, including physical therapy and ongoing treatments, as well as your lost wages. Contact our office at (703) 782-8143 to schedule a free consultation. We look forward to discussing the facts and circumstances of your accident to determine if you have a case.