You might assume that truck drivers have a better view of the road because they sit up so much higher than other cars and have large side mirrors. In fact, the size and height of a truck actually creates four main blind spots around the truck that other drivers should avoid. These blind spots are also called “no-zones” and are located at the:
- Front of the truck,
- Back of the truck,
- Left side of the truck, and
- Right side of the truck.
When your vehicle is in a no-zone, it essentially “disappears” from the truck driver’s view. One-third of fatal crashes between cars and trucks occur in these four blind spots, so consider them to be danger zones.
RULE OF THUMB: THE LARGER THE VEHICLE, THE LARGER THE BLIND SPOT. IF YOU CAN’T SEE THE TRUCK DRIVER IN HIS/HER MIRRORS, THEN THE TRUCK DRIVER CAN’T SEE YOU!
No Passing in the Right No-Zone
The right blind spot, or no-zone, is located on the passenger side of the truck and is a HUGE area where the truck driver can’t see you at all. The following clip shows just how invisible a vehicle is to the truck driver when it’s in the right no-zone. Pay attention to the pickup approaching from behind on the passenger’s side of the truck in the passenger’s side blind spot view. The pickup is by no means a small vehicle. However, despite the fact that the truck driver looks over towards his right side mirror multiple times, he is completely unaware of the pickup as it comes up alongside his truck. As the truck driver begins to turn into the driveway, the pickup just manages to squeeze past and avoid a collision. A split second later and this incident would have ended very badly for the pickup driver.
Depending on the size of the truck, the right no-zone can be three lanes wide and as long as the trailer. When you need to pass a truck, DO NOT pass on the RIGHT. It’s the most dangerous area for passing, as you are essentially invisible to the truck driver the entire time you are in the no-zone!
Pass Steadily Through the Left No-Zone
The left blind spot, or no-zone, is located on the driver’s side of the truck. It is nowhere near as large as the right no-zone, but it’s equally dangerous to linger in. The first video clip shows a driver lingering in the left no-zone. Notice the vehicle approaching from behind and into the driver’s side blind spot. Rather than moving forward or just passing the truck, this vehicle unnecessarily cruises alongside the truck in the left no-zone for an extended period of time. Traveling alongside a truck puts you in the dangerous situation of being sideswiped if the truck changes lanes or has to swerve for any reason.
The only no-zone you should ever be in is the left no-zone and that’s ONLY when you’re passing. One of the worst things you can do is to cruise alongside a truck in the no-zone, where you can’t be seen. If you need to pass a truck, move through the left no-zone steadily until you’re safely past.
This second clip is an example of good road-sharing behavior. You’ll notice a silver pickup truck approaching to pass from behind on the driver’s side of the truck. Once the pickup enters the driver’s blind spot (no-zone), it doesn’t linger, but keeps an even steady pace and passes through the left no-zone without incident.