Getting into any variety of auto accident is dangerous, but the chances for injury or death go up exponentially if one of the vehicles involved is a semi truck. If you are the operator of a normal passenger vehicle, it is important to understand that driving around a semi truck is different than driving around smaller cars.
Understanding the differences between semi trucks and regular passenger vehicles is vital. According to the Federal Motor Carrier safety administration, the blind spots on commercial vehicles are much larger than those on regular passenger vehicles.
How do the blind spots differ?
The blind spot in front of a semi truck can extend for up to 20 feet. Meanwhile, the blind spot behind a semi truck can extend for 30 feet. The blind spot on the left side of a semi truck extends for one lane. On the right side of a semi truck, the blind spot extends for two entire lanes.
How can I use this to drive safer?
You should give a semi truck much more room when you are passing as compared to a regular passenger vehicle. You also should always pass a semi truck on the left-hand side, because the blind spot is much bigger on the right side of the semi truck. Generally, if you can see the mirrors on a semi truck, it is likely that the driver can see you. If you cannot see the mirrors, the driver may not know that you are there.
When merging, give semi trucks as much room as possible. Cutting off a semi truck can be extremely dangerous, since they require much more room to come to a stop as compared to a regular passenger vehicle.