Jason Stephens | August 11, 2021 | Truck Accidents
Large commercial trucks, including 18-wheelers, tractor-trailers, and big rigs, have large blind spots on all sides of their cabs and trailers. As a result, the truck driver cannot see other motor vehicles, bicyclists, pedestrians, curbs, and other objects located in these blind spots.
The blinds spots are located at:
Right Side/Passenger Side
The most significant blind spot for an 18-wheeler is on the right side of the truck. The blind spot begins at the front of the truck and extends to the rear of the truck. Depending on the location, the blind spot can extend outward for two lanes to the right of the truck.
Left Side/Driver Side
The blind spot on the driver’s side of the truck extends outward one lane from the truck. It begins at the front of the cab and extends at least one-half of the way down the side of the trailer.
Front and Rear Blind Spots
There are also blind spots at the front and rear of the truck that extend more than 30 or 40 feet, depending on the size of the cab and trailer.
Do Not Drive in a Truck’s Blind Spots
The truck’s blind spots are called “no-zones” because you should avoid driving in the blind spots whenever possible.
If your vehicle is in the truck’s blind spot, the driver cannot see you. They will not know your vehicle is there when they maneuver to make a turn or change lanes. The result could be a catastrophic truck accident.
Therefore, it is generally safer to pass on the left side of a large truck because there is a much shorter blind spot than on the right side. Also, when passing a truck, attempt to pass as quickly as possible so that your vehicle only remains in the blind spot for a short period of time.
Also, when traveling behind a truck, remain several car lengths behind the truck so that the truck driver can see your vehicle. If you cannot see both side mirrors on the truck’s cab, the truck driver likely cannot see your vehicle.
When merging in front of a commercial truck, allow extra distance before cutting in front of the truck. An 18-wheeler cannot stop as quickly as a car. If you cut off a large truck, the driver might not be able to avoid a rear-end accident or a jackknife accident.
Truck drivers and all other drivers on the road have a responsibility and duty to watch for blind spots and avoid maneuvers that would cause a truck accident.
Truck Accidents Are Common in Texas
Texas has the highest large truck accident fatality rate in the United States. According to the NHTSA, the highest number of truck accident fatalities from 2014 through 218 occurred in Texas. Accidents involving 18-wheelers resulted in 604 deaths during 2018, according to the NHTSA.
The number of truck accident fatalities was slightly lower in 2019, according to the Texas Department of Transportation. In 2019, there were 39,193 crashes in Texas involving commercial motor vehicles. Those crashes resulted in 613 traffic fatalities.
18-Wheeler Accidents Are More Dangerous for Occupants of Other Vehicles
Roughly three-fourths of the injuries and deaths caused by 18-wheeler accidents are occupants of other vehicles.
Common injuries caused by large truck accidents include:
- Severe burns and disfigurement
- Traumatic brain damage and head injuries
- Multiple broken bones and fractures
- Internal organ failure or damage
- Paralysis and spinal cord injuries
- Loss of limbs and amputations
- Internal bleeding
- Neck, back, and shoulder injuries
- Facial trauma
- Crushing injuries
The reason for the high risk of death or catastrophic injury in a truck accident is the difference in the size and weight of the vehicles. An 18-wheeler can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. The average passenger vehicle is about 4,000 to 6,000 pounds.
A passenger vehicle cannot withstand the force of a collision with a massive commercial truck. The result is total devastation of the passenger vehicle.
Many victims are crushed or trapped inside the vehicle during the collision. Fires and explosions are also common in tractor-trailer accidents.
Damages Caused by 18-Wheeler Accidents
Sadly, the victims of truck accidents have a high risk of developing permanent impairments and disabilities. They may require 24/7 care in a nursing home or assisted care facility. Some victims may never walk or be able to function independently because of brain damage or cognitive impairments.
The cost of treatment and care for truck accident victims can be very expensive. In addition, if the person cannot work, they lose a lifetime of wages and benefits. Therefore, the damages in a truck accident case can total millions of dollars.
Because truck accident cases are incredibly complicated personal injury claims with high-value damages, many people seek legal advice from a truck accident lawyer. A lawyer has the resources, knowledge, and experience to deal with large trucking companies, insurance providers, and government entities involved in a truck accident case.