Brad Pistotnik Law
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Can Staying Out of the Blind Spot Prevent an 18 Wheeler Accident?

Can Staying Out of the Blind Spot Prevent an 18 Wheeler Accident?

18 wheeler accidentCan staying away from the blind spot on a semi-truck prevent an 18 wheeler accident? How can drivers know when the truck driver can't see them? While it is true that technology is reducing the risk of blind spot accidents, the fact remains that many trucks are not equipped with sophisticated systems that let them know when motorists are directly behind them. Blind spots on large trucks are dangerous voids that motorists should avoid.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that roughly 840,000 blind spot accidents occur in the United States every year. Of these, approximately 412,000, or just under 50% involve large trucks. The risks are real and motorists should stay alert to the danger any time they are in the vicinity of an 18 wheeler on the highway, city street, or within a parking lot.

Where Is the Blind Spot?

As a general rule of thumb, motorists should always assume they're in the blind spot of a semi-truck when they can't see the truck driver in the truck's mirror. For most semi-trucks, motorists are in the blind spot of the truck when they are less than 20 feet in front of the truck, less than 30 feet behind the truck, parallel to the cab or middle of the truck on the driver's side, or parallel to the cab within two lanes on the passenger side of the truck. This is an area that represents approximately 40% of the total area behind a large truck.

Deadly Combinations

The blind spot itself isn't responsible for most accidents involving an 18 wheeler. It is only one factor in an equation that includes the size of the vehicle, vehicle speed, weight, stopping distance, traffic conditions, road conditions, vehicle condition, and overall maneuverability.

18 wheelers can weigh 40 tons or more. A typical passenger vehicle is 2 tons or less. The size of an 18 wheeler means they have a greater stopping distance, less maneuverability, and a sheer mass that can crush a passenger vehicle causing devastating injuries to drivers and passengers.

The Rising Risk of 18 Wheeler Accidents

In 2016, 4,440 large trucks or buses were involved in fatality causing accidents. This was a 2% increase over 2015. There are many reasons the rates are rising including increased traffic congestion, higher traveling speeds, and distracted driving. Greater congestion means that drivers are likely to find themselves within the blind spot at some point. At higher speeds, they have less time to react, and if either driver is distracted, they may not react until an accident is imminent.

Eliminating Blind Spots

New technologies are reducing the risk of blind spot accidents. These include the installation of convex mirrors that capture a greater field of vision and reduce distortion. Enhanced mirrors can also be coupled with commercial blind spot cameras that are integrated with in-dash monitoring systems. These systems can alert truck drivers when a vehicle enters the blind spot. Similarly, large trucks can be equipped with radar and other sensors to monitor the blind spot and provide audible warnings when the driver attempts to change lanes.

Brad Pistotnik Law represents clients in Hutchinson, Liberal, Hays, Dodge City, Garden City, Salina, Colby, Emporia, Newton, McPherson, Arkansas City, Winfield, Hugoton, Goodland, Topeka, and other cities in Kansas, Nebraska, Texas, and Missouri. Call Brad Pistotnik Law anytime 24 hours a day at 1-800-241-BRAD or at 316-684-4400 or on his cell at 316-706-5020. Our attorneys can help you recover compensation for your injuries following an 18 wheeler accident.