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Every driver has a responsibility to follow the rules of the road and take caution towards other vehicles, but nevertheless, traveling on Texas roads can be dangerous. That is especially so when driving near semi-trucks.

Given their gargantuan nature, truck drivers have a difficult task at hand. Even when they are paying full attention to the road and are cautious of their driving, other dangers may still be present out of sight. 

Although equipped with large side-view mirrors, there are many areas of reduced visibility or blind spots. Because of this, unexpected accidents can happen.

If a semi-truck hits you and causes any damage, know that our Houston truck accident attorneys at Lapeze & Johns can help you earn significant compensation for injuries sustained through no fault of your own.

1. Identifying the No-Zones

Given the size and mass of semi-trucks, drivers should avoid colliding with these vehicles as the consequences of being struck by one can be deadly. Thus, it is necessary to be aware of the areas in which truck drivers may have a limited range of view.

Areas where trucks have reduced visibility are usually referred to as “no-zones,” which are:

  • Front No-Zone The area in front of a semi-truck is a “no-zone”. Tractor-trailers weigh several times as much as an average passenger car, and rear-end collisions with a semi-truck can result in serious injuries such as whiplash, spine and neck injuries, broken bones, head trauma and more.

Drivers should avoid the front “no-zone” by keeping the following tips in mind:

    • A semi-truck can weigh up to 80,000 lbs. If this truck was traveling at a speed of 65 mph, it would require over 500 ft to make a complete stop. 
    • Drivers should allow one car length of distance for every 10 mph traveled to merge in front of a truck.
    • Never cut off a semi-truck, and certainly do not do so and then slow down.
  • Side No-Zone – A typical semi-truck can range between 50 and 80 feet in length. This makes it impossible for the driver to have a complete 360 view of the vehicle they are operating. The very large areas on each side of the truck are also considered side “no-zones”.

In order to avoid being side-swept by a tractor-trailer, consider these tips:

    • If you cannot see the driver’s mirrors, they cannot see you.
    • Do not drive in the driver’s blind spot for an extended period of time. 
    • If you must pass a semi-truck, always pass with extra time and distance.
  • Rear No-ZoneTrucks also have a limited view of the rear of the vehicle. They do not usually have a rear-view mirror in the cab, nor a window like cars do, so this means that they rely on their side-view mirrors to detect cars traveling behind them.

When following behind a tractor-trailer, keep the following in mind:

    • Never draft or tailgate a truck.
    • The general rule for driving behind a semi-truck is that if you are traveling at a rate of 40 mph, you should leave one second for every ten feet of the truck. If, for example, the truck is 40 feet in length, you must maintain at least 5 seconds of distance.
  • Wide TurnsIf a truck is turning, never attempt to undercut its wide turn. Trucks make wide turns to avoid the curb and sidewalk, utility poles, and other adjacent objects. Attempting a more narrow turn between the truck and the curb can be fatal.

When a truck is making a turn, always remember:

    • Give trucks plenty of room when attempting a turn.
    • Trucks will usually swing far out, right or left depending on which turn they are making.
    • Follow a wide turn at a distance, allowing for a complete turn before proceeding to perform your turn.

2. Staying Safe Around a Large Truck’s No-Zone

Drivers of normal passenger cars and those operating large trucks have a duty to maintain caution and abide by the rules of the road. It is essential to take extra precaution when navigating near a large truck, given the many possible blind spots surrounding the vehicle. 

In order to stay vigilant, we as passenger vehicle drivers must adhere to some additional tips to ensure that we are safely driving near semi-trucks:

  • Make sure there is a clear way prior to switching lanes or making any other maneuvers when other cars could also be passing the large truck.
  • Always be vigilant of pedestrians, motorcyclists, and other drivers which can be unseen because of your car’s own blind spots. 
  • Adjust your rear-view and side-view mirror to reduce blind-spots as best possible. 
  • Turn your head to check the rear-view in addition to using your rear-view mirror. 
  • Make sure to signal at every lane change and turn. Be vigilant of other driver’s signals and allow them the space to pass rather than speeding past them.

3. If You’ve Been Injured in a Truck’s No-Zone, Contact Lapeze & Johns Today

As mentioned above, a large truck accident can happen simply by being in its blind spot at the wrong time. Other times, it could be the result of a negligent action. If you become involved in a wreck with a semi-truck, a diligent investigation must be taken to hold instances of negligence at the forefront.

Several forms of negligence could have caused the truck driver to ignore his or her blind spots such as speeding, distraction, exhaustion, impaired driving, inadequate maintenance, and more which ultimately caused you injury.

Recruiting an experienced Houston truck accident attorney to investigate the source of the crash is always to your benefit in order to acquire the compensation you need to heal.

For those injured in a large truck accident, contact the committed Houston truck accident attorneys of Lapeze & Johns today at (713) 766-0075 for a FREE initial case review.