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The Dangers of Semi Truck Blind Spot Accidents

You won’t be surprised to realize that in any semi truck accident, the occupants of the passenger vehicle will suffer greater injuries. They are at a complete disadvantage. By definition, semi-trucks weigh at least 35,000 pounds, and that’s when they are empty. Fully loaded, their weight averages 80,000 pounds. That simply is no match for the average motor vehicle, which, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, weighs an average of 4,004 pounds. Keep in mind, that figure is much less for small cars: only 2,600 pounds. Given the laws of physics and common sense, the smaller vehicle will get the worst impact in any crash between a truck and a car.

There are many reasons that semi-trucks are involved in accidents:

  • Speeding
  • Failing to stop for yellow lights
  • Fatigue
  • The necessity of making wide turns that other drivers don’t understand or respect
  • Faulty equipment
  • Tailgating
  • Driver drug or alcohol impairment
  • Passing on two-lane roads

However, one major cause of big rig accidents is blind spots. Huge vehicles like these have many blind spots, and in order to be safe, both the driver of the semi-truck and the drivers of the vehicles around that truck must be aware of where the blind spots are.

You have surely noticed stickers or signs on the rear of tractor-trailers reading, “If you can’t see my mirrors, I can’t see you.” These signs attempt to warn other drivers but are not really able to convey sufficient information in so few words. Truck drivers must also take the responsibility of understanding that the stickers are not necessarily heeded by all other drivers around them.

How do blind spot accidents happen?

  • The trucker may neglect to either check or consider their blind spots before changing lanes or merging.
  • The truck driver or passenger vehicle driver may forget to signal before changing lanes or merging.
  • Either driver may be following the other too closely.
  • A driver may spend an extended period of time in the semi-truck’s blind spot, lulling the trucker into assuming that no car is there.
  • Semi-trucks are not able to execute maneuvers quickly. For example, the average car can stop in 300 feet, but the average semi-truck needs double that distance, 600 feet, to come to a halt. In short, it isn’t safe to cut off a large truck. The driver will not be able to slow down or stop quickly enough to avoid crashing into you. The FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) advises drivers to always leave extra space when merging in front of large trucks to provide them with the extra stopping space they need.

Semi-truck blind spots

The CVSA (Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance) refers to semi-truck blind spots as “No Zones.” According to Trucking Watchdog, these are the four most dangerous No Zones for semi-trucks:

  1. Left side, under the cab mirror, and extending back to the middle of the trailer. If you have to pass a semi, drive straight through this zone. It is dangerous to hang out in this blind spot.
  2. Right side,under the cab mirror, and extending back to the end of the trailer and three lanes over. Don’t pass a semi-truck on the right, and always remember that they make wide turns.
  3. In frontof the truck cab, at least 20 feet: If a car merges into this spot, the truck driver will not be able to see it at all, and if the driver of the car has to slow down or brake for any reason, the truck has no way to maneuver to avoid a crash.
  4. Behind the trailer, at least 30 feet. Remember the iconic bumper sticker when you are behind a big rig; if you can’t see the truck driver’s side mirrors, they can’t see you.

Alarming statistics

  • According to the FMCSA, 45,900 large trucks were involved in injury crashes in the United States in 2020.
  • In that same year, 4,842 large trucks were involved in fatal crashes.
  • For 75% of the large trucks involved in nonfatal crashes, and 73% of those involved in fatal crashes, the recorded reason was “Collision with vehicle in transport;” in other words, a tractor-trailer, big rig, or semi-truck carrying cargo.
  • For 63% of large trucks involved in fatal crashes, the precipitating event was another vehicle, animal, or object in the truck’s lane.
  • 3.6% of Indiana’s collisions between 2018-2020 were caused by semi-trucks whose drivers were speeding.
  • According to the Indiana University Public Policy Institute, 14,221 (8%) of Indiana collisions in 2020 involved commercial vehicles, and 90% of commercial vehicles are semi-trucks.
  • Commercial vehicles were involved in 134 fatal collisions in Indiana in 2020.

How can an Indiana semi-truck accident attorney help you?

Most semi-truck drivers are employed by large corporations with teams of lawyers. Their insurance companies play hardball when it comes to compensating people who have been involved in a collision with one of their large trucks. They may claim that their driver was not at fault because you were in a blind spot. However, this may not always be the case, and the semi-truck driver is ultimately responsible for checking blind spots before merging, making a turn, or performing any other maneuver.

The experienced semi-truck accident attorneys at Crossen Law Firm know what to expect during the entire claims process. Plus, we can pursue multiple pathways to compensation from truck owners/operators, trucking companies, truck part manufacturers, vehicle manufacturers, shipping and cargo companies, government entities, and more. You have plenty of options for compensation after an Indiana truck accident.

Get started on your case today by scheduling a free consultation about your situation. Call (317) 401-8626 or contact us online.