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Being aware of tractor-trailer blind spots

Sharing the road is not just about keeping an eye out for pedestrians, bikes and motorcycles. The biggest vehicles on the road also require special consideration while driving. Road warriors in Georgia can stay safe by remembering this important safety information about tractor-trailer blind spots.

As the American Automobile Association describes, tractor-trailers are surrounded by extensive blind spots. A truck's forward blind spot stretches 10 to 20 feet in front of the cab, while its rear blind spot is about 200 feet long. To the left side of the cab, a blind spot extends well into the next two driving lanes. To the right, the largest blind spot extends even further. Cars that are traveling in those blind spots are effectively invisible to truck drivers, even with the use of their mirrors. Car passengers in the blind spots are at risk of being injured if the truck suddenly swerves, stops or changes lanes. Drivers should stay out of truck blind spots as much as possible.

Of course, most drivers will eventually need to pass a tractor-trailer, which inevitably involves moving through a blind spot. Safe driving is under these circumstances is less about knowing James Bond-style maneuvers and more about being vigilant and knowing what other drivers can and cannot see around them. AAA encourages drivers to know where a truck's blind spots are and allow themselves plenty of time to safely pass.

The stops and turns of tractor-trailers and other large commercial vehicles can also be dangerous, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Tractor-trailers have a 55-foot turn radius. Cars hidden in the blind spots along the sides of a truck can be crushed, particularly when the truck makes a right turn. Quick lane changes in front of a large commercial vehicle are dangerous due to both the front blind spots of these vehicles and the large length of road required for them to come to a stop. Safety-conscious drivers will always wait until they can see the front of a truck in their review mirrors before changing lanes ahead of the truck. They also should make sure to maintain plenty of space for a truck to suddenly stop behind them. 

 

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