Trucks have terrible sight lines. The length, breadth, and width of most trucks make it impossible for the driver to see some of the surrounding traffic. The dangers of blind spots are especially increased for semi-trucks which can run more than 70 feet long. Trucks are often loaded with heavy and shifting cargo and are inherently so difficult to control drivers need a commercial license to drive most trucks.
These blind spots, cargo difficulties, and control issues make shifting lanes especially dangerous. If a truck fails to see another car or motorcycle, the results can be catastrophic. The occupants of the car and the motorcycle driver may be killed or suffer injuries that last a lifetime. Before any truck driver operates a large truck, the driver should be trained on how to shift lanes properly.
In addition to blind spots, many truck drivers don’t even realize they’re shifting into another lane. This can be due to the width of the truck or due the shifting cargo in the truck. Trucks that cross, even partially, into other lanes can cause fatal and catastrophic accidents.
Where are the truck driver blind spots?
Truck drivers have difficulty seeing:
- Behind the truck. Most trucks don’t have back windows which means the driver has to rely on mirrors and camera videos to have any feel for whether there’s another vehicle behind them.
- In the front of the truck cab. Because of the height of most trucks, the drivers cannot see vehicles that are right in front of them.
- To both sides of the truck. It’s almost impossible for a truck driver to see to the right without mirrors and camera images. It’s also difficult for a driver to see to the left.
When a truck driver changes lanes, either to the passing lane or to the right, there are multiple ways damage can be caused.
- The truck driver can crush the driver on the right or cause a driver on the right to have to veer into another lane, if there is one.
- A truck driver who shifts lanes may cause a head-on collision if the driver is crossing into oncoming traffic. If the truck driver is moving into a passing lane, other drivers may be forced to slam on their brakes or hope they can shift back into the lane the truck driver was originally in.
- Drivers in the front and rear of the truck may be struck because the truck needs room to maneuver as it shifts lanes.
What technology is being used to help truck drivers with lane departures?
Some truck manufacturers are working to address lane departure difficulties through technology. Volvo, for example, boasts about its “forward collision avoidance technology that helps drivers adapt and respond to changing traffic situations to help reduce the risk of collision.” For example, Volvo’s front bumper radar sensor “monitors metallic objects moving in the same direction as the truck, looking forward as far as 500 feet.” Trucks have a windshield mounted camera with a 42-degree viewing angle.
According to Consumer Reports, lane departure technology uses “forward-facing cameras to monitor the lane lines around your vehicle and will provide visual, audible, and/or tactile warnings—such as through steering wheel or seat vibrations—to alert the driver when the car approaches or crosses lane markings.” The systems only work before the driver turns on the turn signal. The technologies use video sensors, laser sensors, and infrared sensors. The technologies vary in the following ways:
- Lane departure warnings (LDW). Here, the truck driver receives a sound or visual warning that their vehicle is crossing into another lane. The steering wheel may vibrate as well.
- Lane keeping assist (LKA). This technology uses automatic steering and/or braking to keep the truck in its travel lane.
- Lane centering assist (LCA). Here, technology works to continually keep the truck in the center of the lane.
The best advice for most drivers is to just stay away from trucks. At Bailey & Greer, PLLC, our Memphis truck accident lawyers have the experience and resources to hold truck drivers and trucking companies liable when driver negligence or truck defects causes an accident. We work with truck professionals who understand what equipment trucks should have to help avoid unintended lane departures and to make intended lane departures s safer. We hold careless drivers responsible for shifting lanes improperly. If you were hurt or a loved one was killed in a truck crash, call our Memphis and Jackson lawyers at 901-475-7434 or use our contact form to schedule a free appointment. We handle truck accident cases on a contingency fee basis.
Since graduating magna cum laude in 2005 from the University of Memphis School of Law, Thomas has helped make a difference in the lives of victims of serious personal injury, wrongful death, and professional negligence. Thomas has extensive trial experience in both state and federal court. Among other victories in the courtroom, Thomas obtained several impressive jury verdicts and settlements
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