What Are “No-Zones”?

“No-zones” refer to the blind spots that truck drivers experience while driving. Although most trucks possess a mirror system to enhance environmental visibility, these mirrors do not fill in all of the blind spots created by such large vehicles. Generally, blind spots exist within 20 feet of the front of the truck, and 200 feet behind.

Many drivers fall into the trap of driving in a truck’s blind spots, even if not on purpose. This is dangerous because truck drivers cannot react to a stimulus that they do not see. Truck lane changes or maneuvers done to respond to other road conditions can be dangerous for cars that are driving in a truck’s blind spot. In these cases, the truck driver is forced to respond to both their driving conditions and the car that happened to be in their blind spot.

Where Are a Truck’s Blind Spots?

The first blind spot lies on both sides of the truck – the side no-zones. Keep in mind the length of trucks like 18-wheelers – the longer the truck, the larger the blind spot. Without an existing mirror system that efficiently addresses this lack of visibility, both sides of the truck become hazardous for passenger vehicles. The right side of the truck has an even larger danger zone due to its decreased visibility.

One key method to determine if a truck driver can see you in their mirrors is to check if you see the driver yourself. Locations where there is potential for driver-to-driver eye contact are the only locations that the truck driver can clearly see the car next to them.

The next blind spot is referred to as the rear no-zone. This blind spot becomes dangerous when smaller cars tailgate or unintentionally drive too close to a truck. Trucks do not have rear-view mirrors. This limits their sight to the front and sides of the truck. If the truck driver breaks, especially in response to unexpected road conditions, the driver has no way of knowing whether a car is close enough to rear-end them. This causes truck accidents that are generally more dangerous for the small cars that consequently hit the truck.

The front no-zone of a truck includes the 20 feet in front of its cab that are virtually invisible to the driver. One reason why this region is dangerous is because trucks take a longer time to stop than the average car. This prevents trucks from safely making quick stops the same way a smaller vehicle could. Cutting off a truck, even as it is slowing down, can cause rear-end accidents that damage the passenger vehicle. Many drivers do not expect trucks to come up behind them so fast, even while slowing to a stop. This could prevent the passenger driver from making quick and informed decisions when they do realize that the truck is dangerously close.

How to Pass a Truck

Driver’s should keep all truck no-zones in mind when passing. To execute the pass, the driver should remain on the truck’s left side and remember to pass quickly when actively overtaking the vehicle. Drivers must also remain alert when passing to identify any changes in the truck’s driving pattern. When turning right, a truck must swing out left, which could interfere with the passing process. Knowing whether a truck intends to turn right also becomes crucial when only a small amount of space remains between the truck and the right-side curb. Drivers should refrain from either using this space to turn themselves or ever passing the truck on the right.

A truck’s no-zones create dangerous situations for those who do not take them seriously. A vehicle’s turn radius and slow-down time should also be taken into consideration while maneuvering their passenger cars around trucks to avoid collision.