Inadequate surveillance occurs when a truck driver fails to observe his surroundings to complete a driving maneuver safely. Whether it is a lane change or a turn, a truck driver must be extra vigilant behind the wheel.
All cars have blind spots, but due to a truck’s massive sides, truck drivers have to account for several areas in each direction that they can not see. Truck drivers call these blind spots ‘no-zones’. No-zones are where accidents are most likely to occur and are usually located in the following places:
- Two car lengths in front of the truck
- Three to five car lengths behind the truck
- One to two car lengths on the left of a truck
- Four to five car lengths on the right of a truck
Because drivers of passenger cars are not always aware of how large a truck’s no-zones are, truck drivers must take responsibility for always driving defensively, meaning that they must anticipate the actions of other drivers on the road. Maintaining a safe speed, distance with other cars, and a vigilant state of mind are all helpful.
Scanning the road for about a quarter of a mile ahead can allow a truck driver to avoid problematic situations altogether and avoid having to slam on the brakes. Often checking mirrors also allows a truck driver to keep track of what cars are moving in and out of his no-zones.
Drivers of passenger cars also have the responsibility to drive more carefully around 18 wheelers, respecting the fact that large trucks do not have the visibility that smaller cars do. If you can not see a truck driver’s face in his side view mirror, it is likely that he can not see you either. Be proactive and move quickly from around an 18 wheeler.
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