Houston Trucking Accidents Caused by Blind Spots
There are approximately 840,000 trucking accidents caused by blind spots every year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Although all vehicles have blind spots, the ones on a commercial truck are exceptionally large and extremely dangerous.
Truck drivers are responsible for knowing how to check these blind spots, but sometimes they forget or overlook the potential for blind spot crashes. It’s for this reason that all drivers must understand where these blind spots are located on a truck and how to prevent blind spot accidents from occurring.
Where Are the Blind Spots on an 18-Wheeler Truck?
The blind spots on an 18-wheeler truck are also called “no-zones.” There are four of them around a truck.
- At the front: Due to the fact that truck drivers sit so high above the ground, they cannot see what’s immediately below them. This blind spot extends 20 feet from the front of the truck.
- At the back: There is no way a truck driver can see what is directly behind them. This blind spot extends 30 feet from the back of the truck.
- On the right side: A driver sits on the left-hand side of the truck. Due to the fact that a truck is so large, drivers have a very big blind spot on the right side of the truck. This blind spot extends nearly the full length of the trailer and crosses two lanes.
- On the left side: The blind spot on the left side is smaller than the right side because this is where the driver sits. They can easily turn their head and use their mirrors to see the traffic around them. However, there is still a blind spot on this side. It extends from the driver’s back to halfway along with the trailer. Unlike the blind spot on the right side, the one on the left only crosses one lane of traffic.
It’s important that drivers not only understand where these blind spots are located on a truck but also how accidents occur within them.
How 18-Wheeler Blind Spot Accidents Occur
There are a number of ways accidents occur in 18-wheeler blind spots. The most common of them is that the truck driver simply doesn’t see a smaller vehicle. When this is the case and the truck driver changes lanes or turns, an accident results.
Sometimes smaller vehicles follow 18-wheelers too closely. When they do and the truck driver comes to an abrupt stop, the smaller vehicle can become caught underneath the truck. This is known as under-riding. Most commercial trucks today are required to install under-ride guards to prevent this from happening, but sadly, not all do.
Just like other drivers, truck drivers can become frustrated and aggressive when they are on the road. They may slam on their brakes to signal another driver to stop following so closely, or they may cut another vehicle off as they rush to their destination. When this happens, truck drivers are unlikely to check their blind spots, and a crash can easily result.
Another cause of 18-wheeler blind spot accidents is that motorists remain in a truck driver’s blind spot for too long. This is often because the driver is unaware of the blind spots on a truck.
Once motorists understand how 18-wheeler blind spot accidents occur, it’s easier to prevent them.
Tips for Avoiding Houston Truck Driver Blind Spots
Although motorists must interact with trucks on a regular basis, often riding side-by-side on the highways, there are ways to keep out of a truck driver’s blind spot:
- Give trucks plenty of space. If you can keep away from the sides of a truck, and the immediate front and back, it’s easy to avoid a truck driver’s blind spots.
- If you must travel alongside a truck, try not to remain there too long. Either speed up to get through the blind spot quickly or slow down and remain behind the truck.
- If you have to pass a truck, always do so from the left side, never the right.
- Make sure you can see the truck driver’s face in the mirror. If you can see them, they can see you, meaning you are not in their blind spot.
In addition to paying attention to the truck and truck driver, it’s just as important to remain aware of what other vehicles around you are doing. For example, if you’re between a truck and another vehicle, watch for turn signals or tire movements that could indicate a lane change. This allows you time to react and not get caught in a bad situation.
Common Injuries from a Truck Blind Spot Accident
Trucks can weigh up to 30 times more than a passenger vehicle. When they crash into smaller vehicles and cause an accident, injuries are typically more severe. A few of the most common injuries resulting from truck blind spot accidents include:
- Multiple fractures
- Deep lacerations and permanent scarring
- Neck injuries, such as whiplash
- Back injuries, such as herniated discs and cracked vertebrae
- Spinal cord injuries, including paralysis
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Internal bleeding and organ damage
- Burns, if the crash causes an explosion
- Crushed limbs
- Fatal injuries leading to wrongful death
Truck accident injuries are not only extremely painful, they are also costly. A truck accident attorney can help victims pursue the full amount of compensation need to be made whole again after a catastrophic crash.
Get Help from an Experienced Trucking Accident Attorney
If you’ve been hurt in a truck accident, a knowledgeable Houston personal injury attorney can help. At The Law Offices of Hilda Sibrian, we understand the severity of these accidents, and we have the experience necessary to handle these complex claims. We will determine who is liable for the accident and fight to hold them accountable for paying the fair amount of compensation you deserve.
Contact us now for your free consultation.