Commercial vehicles transport raw materials and goods all over the country. They allow us to get our hands on whatever we want, wherever we happen to live. Our large fleet of trucks, as well as the expansive national system of roadways they travel, makes this possible. At the same time, those trucks need to be big, and drivers need to share the road with them whether they like it or not.
Generally, truck drivers do a phenomenal job of using caution and care to avoid catastrophic accidents with vehicles that are much smaller than theirs are. However, anyone who has traveled in a truck knows that it can be extremely difficult to see certain areas surrounding the truck. The most effective way of avoiding dangerous situations, then, is to make other drivers aware of those areas.
A little more than 20 years ago, Congress recognized this by instructing the Federal Highway Administration (now the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) to run a campaign that would make drivers more aware of dangerous “No Zones” around commercial trucks to avoid. This resulted in a multitude of TV, print, and radio advertisements that served to educate drivers and make the roads safer for everyone.
There are four No Zones that all drivers should be aware of. Two of them are immediately on either side of a truck, and are similar to a normal car’s blind spots, although much larger. The No Zone on the right side of the truck, across the cab from where the driver is sitting, is larger than the on the left. It’s also more dangerous due to the wide right turns that trucks routinely make. Since trucks don’t have rear-view mirrors and are too large to see around, the area immediately behind a truck is also a No Zone. Finally, the area directly in front of a truck is considered a No Zone because it takes a truck twice as long to stop as it does the car in front of it.
To stay out of harm’s way, drivers are encouraged to avoid these spots while remaining aware of the limitations of operating a large commercial truck. At the same time, truck drivers must understand that not all of their fellow travelers are fully aware of the existence of No Zones. It’s everyone’s job to spread the word about No Zones. We all share the same roads, and we all benefit from them being safer to travel.
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