Imagine you are driving in the right lane of a muli-lane freeway in moderately high traffic when a large object falls off a truck directly in front of you. You’ve only got a split-second to decide what to do… Should you swerve into the left lane to avoid hitting it?
Blind spots are the areas that cannot be seen in a driver’s forward vision or rear and side-view mirrors. It is not illegal to drive in other vehicle’s blind spots - in fact, if you’re driving in heavy traffic there’s often no way to avoid it. But, driving in someone else’s blind spot (or someone else driving in yours) creates an unsafe situation.
Always check your blind spot before changing lanes. Also, try to stay aware of the vehicles around you and try to keep a mental image of where vehicles are in your blind spots. If a road hazard suddenly appears and you only have a spit-second to decide what to do, it helps to know exactly where the traffic around you is.
Semi trucks, buses, and other larger vehicles have multiple blind spots that are different from a typical small car or truck. Do you know where they are?
Here are a few tips to remember about large trucks and their blind spots:
- If you’re driving close enough behind a semi truck that you can’t see their rear-view mirrors, then you’re in their blind spot.
- Pass long trucks only on the left, because they have a larger blind spot on the right.
- If you are passing a truck, make sure that you can at least see both of the truck’s headlights in your rear-view mirror after you pass before returning to your lane. (It takes a semi truck 3 to 5 times as long to stop as a car!)
- If you are being passed by a truck at night on a single-lane highway, a common courtesy is to briefly flash your headlights (from normal to parking, NOT from normal to high-beams) when the truck has passed your vehicle to let them know that it is safe for them to return to the proper lane. It is difficult for trucks carrying long trailers to gauge distances at night.
Always try to avoid driving in other people’s blind spots. You never know if other drivers are paying attention, so it’s your responsibility to avoid dangerous situations by driving defensively. If you are in another vehicle’s blind spot, don’t assume that the driver knows you are there. If you are driving on a multi-lane freeway or highway and realize that you are keeping pace with another vehicle in the driver’s blind spot, then adjust your speed to get out of their blind spot.