Because a truck driver sits higher in a big truck and have many mirrors, are their road visibility better or worse than in a car?
Many novice drivers think that a truck driver can see the road better because they sit higher and have bigger mirrors. This is not true. Even if truckers enjoy a better forward view and may have several mirrors, they still have serious blind spots into which a car can disappear from view. In general, blind spots may exist up to 20 feet in front of the cab, on either side of the truck, particularly alongside the cab, and up to 200 feet in the rear.
These blind spots or danger areas are often referred to as no-zones. You should know what a no-zone is in terms of driving.
Do Not Linger in a Truck’s Blind Spot
Why is it so important not to drive in a truck driver’s blind spots? Due to the size and weight of their vehicle, truckers must react faster than car drivers when there is an emergency. If faced with a potential dangerous situation, the truck driver may turn into your lane, not knowing you are there.
Tailgating large vehicles is also especially dangerous. The truck driver cannot see you if you linger directly behind the truck. The truck will also limit your view of the road ahead. If there is a dangerous situation ahead you might not see in time and if the truck suddenly stops, you will have no place to go.
A Rule of Thumb
A good rule when you share the road with a large vehicle is to look for the driver in the side mirrors. If you cannot see the truck driver in his or her side mirror, he or she can probably not see you.
When you need to overtake a large vehicle, always pass quickly and efficiently on the left side. Never pass a truck on the right side, since this is the largest and longest blind spot. You should also remember that truck drivers sometimes need to swing wide to the left before making a right turn. If you try to squeeze in between them and the right-hand curb, you are asking for trouble. The truck driver might not be able to see you and turn in front of you.
At intersection you must watch for their turn signals and give them room.
Questions about the no-zones or blind spots often appear on permit tests or renewal tests. It is also a key area on our free practice tests. We really recommend that you study this part of the driver’s manual carefully, not only because you want to pass the permit knowledge exam, but because colliding with a truck could easily cost you your life.