Before you make a lane change, you turn on your signal, check your side mirrors, and look over your shoulder. It is a process that millions of Americans perform every day—and while each of these steps is vital to executing a safe lane change, the last is arguably the most important. Because blind spots cause thousands of accidents every year, looking over your shoulder before a lane change can be a lifesaver.
However, did you know that truck drivers have blind spots they cannot solve?
Commercial Trucks & “No Zones”
In driver’s education lessons, the instructor will tell the class about vehicular blind spots. For passenger vehicles, blind spots are the areas of the road where the driver cannot see when using car mirrors. Passenger vehicle operators are required by law to look over their shoulder before making a lane change to combat these blind spots. However, while this technique is useful for car drivers in reducing blind spots, commercial truckers do not have the same luxury.
That is because commercial truck blind spots are called “no zones.”
No zones are areas around a truck where the operator cannot see a vehicle no matter what they do. There is no “over the shoulder technique.” Their mirrors do not have extensions that allow them to look out the side of the cab; they are essentially driving blind. That is why commercial truck blind spots are called no zones—because there is no way a truck driver can see you if you are sitting in one.
The Positions of No Zones
Trucks have four no zones altogether, each with individual specifications:
- Within 30 feet behind the truck
- Within 20 feer in front of the truck
- One lane on the left side of a truck, near the cab
- Two lanes to the right of the truck, starting at the cab and slanting diagonally
As you can see, trucks have inferior visibility when compared to passenger vehicles. Therefore, when driving next to a commercial vehicle, motorists should realize that they cannot treat trucks the same way they treat cars. They need to be extremely cautious when driving in front of a truck, or when changing lanes next to a truck, especially when passing on the right side. Giving truckers adequate space is always a good idea—and if you ever do find yourself in the no zone of a truck, make sure you leave as quickly as possible.