What Are a Truck’s “No-Zones” & How Can They Impact Your Claim?
Commercial trucks are approximately 80,000 pounds and nearly 70 feet long. The size and height of these vehicles could cause anxiety for anyone driving near them on the highway — and it should, given there are areas around the truck where you are essentially invisible to the driver. Texas even saw the most large truck accidents in the US in 2022, with more than 19,000 reported.
Drivers may make wide turns or lane changes and crash into other drivers riding in the truck’s no zones. Every car on the road should know these dangerous locations around the truck to stay safe and avoid a devastating accident.
What Are the Four “No Zones” on Large Trucks?
There are four total no zones around a commercial truck: the front, rear, and both sides. Anyone traveling in these areas puts themselves at risk for an underride, sideswipe, rear end, or other catastrophic accident. Here’s more on the four no zones to be aware of.
Front No Zones
Like trains, large commercial trucks cannot stop as efficiently as regular passenger vehicles. Although trucks and trains have apparent differences, the same concept applies. If you merge too close to the front of a semi-truck and stop abruptly, you risk a deadly rear-end accident.
A good rule of thumb is to wait until the entire truck is in your rearview before you pass. This will give you approximately 20 feet between you and a large commercial vehicle, which provides a big rig with plenty of space to stop before they hit you.
Rear No Zones
While you should never tailgate any driver, you should especially never tailgate large trucks — in fact, you should stay 30 feet behind them to avoid rear-ending one. This distance is ideal for drivers traveling behind large trucks because the extended trailer prevents truck drivers from seeing vehicles traveling too closely.
Always remember that if you can’t see the truck’s mirrors, then the driver can’t see you. Failing to adhere to these guidelines could put you at risk of rear-ending the truck, a crash few victims walk away from.
Side No Zones
Traveling alongside a commercial truck is arguably the most dangerous no-zone. If trucks merge into your lane, you could get caught underneath the tractor-trailer, causing significant damage. There are slight differences between the two side no-zones of a tractor-trailer.
Passenger Side No Zone
The passenger side no-zone covers a much larger area than the driver side. It’s recommended to steer clear of this no-zone. You should avoid passing a truck on this side. Another reason to avoid a truck’s passenger side is wide-turn accidents.
When a truck driver makes a right-hand turn at an intersection, they must first swing the truck to the left to give it enough room to clear the curb. Once the driver turns the truck back to the right to make the turn, drivers in the passenger no zone are vulnerable to an underride accident.
Driver’s Side No Zone
Vehicles traveling in the truck’s driver’s side lane have more room to work with than the passenger side lane. However, they still must pass trucks at a safe speed and avoid idling in the no zone directly beside the driver’s side of the truck’s cab.
How No Zones Impact Your Accident Claim
Commercial trucks should have several warnings on the back of their trailer, detailing certain no zones. For example, some trucks have graphics warning drivers not to travel in the passenger side lane when the truck makes wide turns.
Further, it’s generally understood that tailgating a truck or cutting one off on the highway is unsafe and could contribute to a crash. Texas’ comparative negligence laws may consider your contribution to the accident and decrease your compensation by your percentage of liability.
However, just because a truck has no zones doesn’t give them the power to rule the road. A truck accident lawyer’s investigation will determine the truck driver’s percentage of liability and help you file a claim to fight for total compensation.
Injured in a Truck Accident? Call Today
Despite knowing a truck’s no zones and practicing defensive driving, some accidents are inevitable. Commercial truck accident cases involve large insurance companies and can be complex. A truck accident attorney has access to expert witnesses who can recreate the accident and determine fault.
Further, an accident attorney can gather additional evidence, such as photos, videos, and witness testimony, to strengthen your case for compensation. If you want to fight against negligent truck drivers and their employers, contact the Law Giant today at (866) 435-5219 for a free consultation.