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4 tips for staying out of tractor-trailer blind spots

The importance of driving safely around large trucks on the California highways cannot be overstated. Many people in passenger vehicles are unaware that they must take extra steps to keep from causing a collision, though.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration explains that simply avoiding the danger zones around large trucks significantly reduces the risk of a crash. Here are some tips for blind spot safety.

1. Look for the trucker's eyes in the side mirror

It is not enough to be able to see the truck operator in the mirror. If the driver of a car can only see a shoulder or an ear, he or she is still in the blind spot, and the trucker cannot see the vehicle. 

2. Merge cautiously

A driver may have no option but to merge into traffic near a semitruck. However, as soon as the passenger vehicle has entered the highway, the driver should speed up or slow down to move out of the blind spot.

3. Leave more following distance

The FMCSA points out that blind spots on either side of the truck are not the only ones to pay attention to. About 20 feet in front of the tractor-trailer and 30 feet behind are also danger zones that are probably not visible to the trucker. Drivers should not cut in front of the truck or follow closely behind. 

4. Wait for a break in traffic before passing

In heavy traffic, getting into the passing lane and moving ahead of the slower moving vehicles may mean being alongside a tractor-trailer in a blind spot for longer than is safe. The trucker may not see the car and attempt to move into the fast lane, too. Before making this maneuver, the driver of the passenger vehicle should wait until there is enough space to get past the truck in one shot.

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