Gas prices are down so we’re looking for lots of folks to hit the road this summer. They’re either enjoying long distance fun or the ever more popular “staycations” where you visit cool New York State destinations closer to home. We hope you will be getting out there, too.
And if you’re traveling the beautiful highways of Central New York and beyond, you know you’ll be sharing the roads with some big rigs. So we thought it would be a good idea to find out more about what a truck driver can see…and what he or she can’t…as they hustle down the road.
Most people think that as they drive alongside a truck on the Thruway, the driver must be able to see them because he’s so high up. But truck drivers have blind spots (also called No Zones), too, just like you do in your car.
A Truck Driver’s Blind Spots
Directly behind the truck is a blind spot. So stay back about 20 to 25 car lengths. Actually, it’s a good idea not to tailgate no matter what kind of vehicle is ahead of you. The New York State DMV says, “Four of every 10 crashes involve rear-end collisions…” so create ample space in front of you and the truck.
The next blind spot is right in front of the truck and one lane to the right. This makes it especially dangerous to pass a big rig on the right. If you do, don’t dawdle…get beyond the truck as quickly and as you safely can. As a matter of fact, do the same when you pass a truck on the left. You want to get through the truck’s blind spots quickly, so once you decide to pass, don’t linger. And get well in front of the truck before you get back into the right lane.
The truck’s right door is also a blind spot. Again, this makes passing a truck on the right extremely dangerous. Fortunately, professional truck drivers don’t usually hog the fast left lane on the Thruway. (Which is more than we can say for a number of drivers we’ve encountered recently! It sure is irritating to have a driver slow up in the passing lane, holding up traffic in the process.)
Rule of thumb: keep both the truck driver’s left and right mirrors in your sights. If you can see his face in the mirrors, he can probably see you. If you lose sight of his face, he’s most likely lost sight of you.
In summary: a truck’s No Zones include the right side, directly in front and directly behind. Stay away from these blind spots as best you can and you’ll have a much safer trip.
We also appreciate the hard work and dedication to safety of our nation’s truck drivers. They have helped lower the number of deaths per truck mile traveled since 1975. And the results are substantial. For example, in 1979 there were 4,226 passenger deaths per 109,004 truck miles travelled. But in 2014, that figure was reduced to 2,485 deaths for 279,132 truck miles travelled!
So make it easy on truck drivers by respecting their blind spots and creating adequate space between them and you while you drive.
We at Scalzo, Zogby & Wittig wish you safe and happy travels this summer!
Until next time,
Your SZW Team
PS Speaking of safe driving, if you want a second opinion on your car insurance, give us a call. We’ll make sure you get all the credits and discounts you deserve.
Scalzo, Zogby & Wittig, Inc. is your New Hartford area independent insurance agent. Call us for a quote on insurance for your home, car, business, or life at 315.792.0000. Or request a quote here.