Trucking Accidents: Blindspots and No-Zones
2 Minute Read from Hamilton Trucking Accident Lawyers Serving Ontario
Have you ever followed behind a truck and read a bumper sticker which urges you to keep a safe distance? The most common warning that you might have seen is probably the one that says “If you can’t see my mirrors, I can’t see you”. The reason for this warning is that unlike cars, tractor-trailers have operating limitations such as large blind spots, long stopping distances, and making wide turns. Whether you are driving, walking or biking, it is very important for you to understand the limitations of large trucks and take extra precautions when you able.
What is a Semi Truck’s No-Zone?
Motorists normally assume that truckers can see better because they’re are higher up off the road. While semi drivers do have a better view out over the horizon and bigger mirrors than most vehicles on the road, they still have major blindspots that you need to be aware of. These blindspots are otherwise known as “NO ZONES” which are areas around the truck where your vehicle should never remain. They are blind spots located at the front, back, and at both sides of the truck. As a motorist or pedestrian, you should pay particular attention to stay out of these “no-zones” because most of the time (depending on the nose mirrors) the truck driver has significantly decreased visibility in all of these areas.
Where Exactly are a Trucker’s No-Zones?
Right Side of the Truck – The right side blindspot on a truck can run the entire length of the trailer. The semi’s right-sided blind spot begins at the truck’s front and angles outward. It also extends a few lanes lanes out to the right. This no-zone on the right is larger than the one on the left side. You should always try to avoid passing tractor-trailers on the right. It is also highly important to be careful at intersections. Tractor-trailers make wide right turns and their large right side blind spot means they can easily smash into a car that is trying to get by. Some semi -rucks have the technology to alert truck drivers if there is a vehicle in their blind spot – but not all trucks have the benefit of this equipment.
Left Side of the Truck – Tractor-trailers have a blind spots to the left of the cab that is smaller than the right blind spot. The no-zone on the left back to about 1/3 of the length of it’s trailer. If you do need to pass the semi, do it quickly and get out of the left blind-spot as soon as possible.
Front of the Semi – The hood of the truck can also create a front blind spot. Generally the front blind spot is about 20 feet long. As a motorist, it is important to try and avoid merging directly in front of a truck. It takes a fully loaded semi more than 300 feet to stop – over the length of a football field, including end-zones. Try to leave a safety cushion of about 4 car -lengths between you and the semi behind you.
Rear of the Semi – Remember tractor-trailers don’t have rear-view mirrors. The tractor-trailer’s rear blind spot or no-zone starts directly at the back of the truck and extends backwards. If you tailgate then you make it impossible for the trucker to see you. You should always leave about twenty car lengths between your car and a semi truck.
Blind Spot Semi-Truck Accidents
Collisions involving transport trucks/tractor trailers are a regular occurrence in Ontario, especially on our provincial highways. The average kilometer of main highway in Canada has about 1,100 trucks a day in both directions. In Ontario, that average is higher at 2,300 trucks a day, although Highway 401 has volumes exceeding 10,000 trucks a day in Southern Ontario and 40,000 a day near Toronto!
Trucks have a lower crash rate per mile than cars, but it is important to note that their fatal crash rate is significantly higher due to their sheer size. A main reason for the over-involvement of large trucks in fatal crashes is the differential in weight between trucks and other involved vehicles. It’s quite easy to see how semi-truck accidents can lead to catastrophic injuries and death to the occupants of passenger vehicles and of course, motorcyclists and pedestrians are at an even higher risk for injury as they don’t have the same protection found in a car, such as seat belts and air bags.
Common types of crash risk factors include:
- distracted drivers – or drivers with eyes off the road
- poor vehicle maintenance
- broken nose mirrors
- broken cab mirrors
- inclement weather
- improper loading of cargo
- failure to yield the right of way
- driving too fast for trucking conditions
- execution error
- driver fatigue
- medication abuse
- bad vehicle maintenance
- chronic health conditions (mental and physical)
- driving too fast for conditions
- shifted and unfastened cargo
- physical driver factors
- equipment failure (brakes and tires)
Common types of truck crashes are:
- large trucks rear-ending passenger vehicles
- passenger vehicles rear-ending semis
- right turn accidents
- head-on crashes on undivided highways
- sideswipe accidents in the same or opposite direction
Trucking Accident Lawyers Hamilton Serving Ontario
Because of the substantial costs of truck accident settlements and verdicts – truckers, truck manufacturers, and trucking companies will no doubt have aggressive representatives working to minimize the compensation you deserve. Cases can be further complicated by the involvement of multiple insurers.
Trucking accident cases are highly complex and should be handled by lawyers that are uniquely qualified in complex personal injury litigation. Our Hamilton personal injury lawyers are dedicated to helping tractor trailers accident victims and have represented trucking accident victims throughout the Province. We are willing to travel to see you or your family wherever you live in Ontario to discuss your trucking accident tragedy.
If you or a loved one was seriously injured in a trucking accident, please contact our Lalande & Company lawyers at 905-333-8888 fill out a contact form, or chat with our live agent 24/7 who would be more than happy to set up an appointment with you and your family at y our convenience.