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Avoiding the 'no zones' can help you avoid accidents with trucks

As a driver, you probably are often sharing the road with other types of vehicles, such as large commercial trucks. In 2016, almost 4,500 large trucks and buses were involved in fatal crashes, and 83 percent of the fatalities were not occupants of commercial vehicles, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). When you share the road, you can often avoid an accident with a commercial vehicle if you are familiar with the vehicles' blind spots and practice safe driving habits to avoid those blind spots.

What are the 'no zones'?

The blind spots on large commercial vehicles are sometimes called the "no zones" because they are areas other drivers should avoid. These no zones include sections along all four sides of the vehicle.

One no zone extends 20 feet in front of the vehicle, and another extends 30 feet behind it. Also, the driver's side of the vehicle has a no zone that extends one lane over from the middle of the vehicle, and the passenger's side has a no zone that extends two lanes over, starting at the cab and extending beyond the back of the vehicle.

How to avoid the 'no zones'

Avoiding driving in the no zones is a good general practice, but there are times when passing through a no zone may be necessary. In those instances, try to spend as little time in the no zone as possible.

Some ways to avoid or minimize driving in the no zones include:

  • Allow for extra space between you and the commercial vehicle when you are merging in front of it or behind it.
  • Do not pass commercial vehicles on downgrades where they tend to pick up speed.
  • When you must pass a commercial vehicle, only pass on the left side, and pass quickly, so you can minimize your time in the no zone.
  • When a truck is trying to pass you, slow down slightly, so it can pass you quickly.

Sharing the road with large commercial vehicles can be dangerous when truck and bus drivers are unable to see the traffic around them. By understanding where the no zones are and practicing safe driving habits, you can avoid many potential accidents with commercial vehicles.

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