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Minnesota Truck Accident Lawyer In Blind Spot Accidents

Today, the speed limit on many of the nation’s expressways is 65 to 75 mph for both passenger vehicles and semi tractor-trailers. It is a sobering reality that a car may remain in an 18-wheeler’s blind spot as it travels 100 feet per second.

When accidents do happen, insurance companies for trucking concerns sometimes attempt to blame a motorist for being in a truck’s blind spot. In reality, a trucker is responsible for monitoring traffic on all sides of his rig. A failure by a trucker to successfully monitor blind spots is often considered evidence of truck driver error and negligence.

Trucker Responsibilities

Both the size and design of most semi tractor-trailers is such that a trucker must remain attentive to blind spots everywhere around his big rig:

Front – The size and height of the front-end is such that vehicles, especially motorcycles, may end up in a blind spot in front of the large truck. Some drivers are in the habit of cutting right in front of a large truck when passing, or they slow down as soon as they pull in front of a semi. Either tactic, combined with a sudden distraction or other adverse road event, could cause the trucker to rear-end that vehicle.

Back – It is also impossible for a truck driver to see a vehicle tailgating immediately behind the trailer. Therefore, never follow a semi tractor-trailer too closely. From immediately behind a big rig, it is often impossible to see trouble up ahead. This creates the possibility of a rear-end collision when the truck driver suddenly brakes. Ideally, you’ll want to maintain a four-second following distance. At highway speeds, this is equivalent to approximately 20 car lengths. It is important to increase the distance by a wide margin in bad weather. The airflow patterns around a semi tractor-trailer can destabilize a passenger vehicle following closely behind, especially when strong cross winds are present.

Left and Right – When it comes to both merging and changing lanes, it is the responsibility of truckers monitor traffic flow, astutely assessing both the position and the speed of vehicles to avoid vehicles hidden in the blind spots to the left and right of the trailer. On multi-lane highways and expressways, these blind spots may span several lanes.

Tips For Coping With Truckers’ Blind Spots

On multi-lane freeways, watch the flow of traffic so that you consistently position your vehicle anywhere but along the side of a semi tractor-trailer. There are four critical maneuvers that may cause blind spot accidents:

  • Merging
  • Passing
  • Lane changing
  • Right hand turns

Merging – When merging with freeway traffic, it is important to gauge traffic flow early and often. Given the size difference, it is usually far wiser to pull in behind a semi than to try to outrun it as you merge.

Passing – It is important to understand that, even under optimum conditions, it takes 25-30 seconds to pass an 18-wheeler. Gusty winds, rain, snow or ice can increase the challenges exponentially. Turbulence is especially challenging for small, light cars and motorcycles. Once you have passed the truck, continue up the road approximately 10 car lengths, far enough to avoid cutting in too close to the truck’s front bumper.

Lane changing – As with passing, it is important for a motorist to signal intent early. Give semis wide berth, and get in the habit of positioning your vehicle so that you have an escape plan if something goes wrong, like a blown tire. Stay aware of road shoulders which provide a place to go if evasive action is ever required.

Right turns – The turning radius of a semi tractor-trailer is larger than that of a passenger vehicle, so it often requires two lanes to successfully complete a right turn. Therefore, as you approach an intersection, always watch for a semi in the left lane that is displaying a right turn signal. A semi driver needs to make wide right-hand turns to avoid light poles and street lights. A car lurking in the blind spot on the right side of the trailer could be dragged around the corner during a such a turn.

When it is reasonable to assert that negligent conduct by a trucker caused an accident, it is often possible to receive compensation for medical expenses, pain, suffering and lost wages.

If you or a family member is a victim in a crash with a semi tractor-trailer, it is possible to discuss the matter with an attorney at no cost to you. We fight hard to get our clients all the compensation they deserve under the law. To learn more about our legal services, please contact us.