Large commercial trucks are involved in a highly disproportionate share of fatal motor vehicle collisions. The National Safety Council (NSC) reports that there were more than 5,700 deadly tractor trailer crashes in the United States in 2020 alone. One of the reasons why semi trucks are so dangerous is that they have large blind spots.
These blind spots are often referred to as “no-zones.” Truckers are responsible for safely managing their blind spots. That being said, motorists should always make a proactive effort to try to stay out of the no-zones of large trucks. Here, our Stockton semi-truck accident attorney provides an overview of the key things you should know about tractor trailers and “no-zones” in California.
What is a “No Zone”?
In the context of tractor trailers, the term “no-zone” refers to the areas around the vehicle where the driver has limited or zero visibility. You may hear a “no-zone” referred to more simply as the truck’s blind spots. Of course, commercial trucks have far larger blind spots than other vehicles. Indeed, a large truck can have blind spots at the rear, along the sides, and even in the front of the vehicle.
As a motorist in Stockton, you want to stay out of the blind spots (no-zones) of tractor trailers. A driver that finds themselves in a truck’s no-zone is at a far higher risk of being involved in a serious collision. The unfortunate reality is that a trucker driver may not be aware of a vehicle’s presence while they are making turns, changing lanes, or stopping.
Semi-Truck and Blind Spots: Four Safety Tips for Drivers
With several major highways running through the area, Stockton sees far more than its fair share of semi-truck traffic. For drivers, being around large commercial trucks can be stressful. Knowing how to operate under no-zones can make a difference. Here are four actionable safety tips that motorists in California can use when navigating a tractor trailer’s no-zones in California:
- Maintain a Safe Distance: Always maintain a safe following distance from a semi-truck. Give yourself enough time to react to sudden stops or turns by the truck. Maintaining safe distance also keeps you clear of the truck’s rear blind spot.
- Avoid Side No-Zones: These are the most dangerous. Indeed, semi-trucks have extensive side blind spots. When you find yourself driving beside a semi-truck, it is best to either speed up to pass safely and promptly or slow down to fall back out of the blind spot.
- Try Hard to Be Visible: Keep your headlights on, especially during adverse weather conditions, to be more visible to truck drivers. Your visibility will make it easier for them to keep track of your vehicle relative to their no-zones.
- Anticipate Wide Turns: Large commercial trucks require extra room to make turns—especially right turns. Never try to squeeze by or get between the truck and the curb. Anticipate the space a truck might need. It could be more than you initially realize.
A Trucker is Responsible for Safely Managing their “No Zones”
While drivers in Stockton should try to proactively avoid a truck’s no-zones, it is crucial to emphasize truckers bear the primary legal responsibility for managing their blind spots. Truckers should be well-trained. The proper training equips truckers with strategies to minimize risks associated with these areas. Of course, constant vigilance is a must.
Truckers must regularly use mirrors and camera systems (if available) to monitor the spaces around the truck that are difficult to see. Further, proper signaling and timely actions are crucial, allowing other drivers to anticipate the truck’s movements, facilitating safer interactions. Truck drivers must maintain awareness of nearby vehicles, particularly those that might linger in no-zones.
Negligent Truckers and Trucking Companies Can Be Held Accountable
Here are two essential things to understand if you were hurt in a crash involving a semi-truck no-zone (blind spot) in Stockton:
- Liability is Derived Based on Fault: California law bases liability on fault. Truck drivers or trucking companies that exhibit negligence―including due to the failure to manage blind spots effectively—can be held liable for accidents and damages resulting from such oversight. All trucking accidents in Central California should be thoroughly investigated by an experienced Stockton attorney.
- Comparative Negligence May Apply: California operates under a comparative negligence system. In other words, fault can be shared in an accident. If a driver is partially at fault for an accident involving a truck’s no-zones, their compensation may be reduced by their percentage of fault. For example, a driver who was speeding and unexpectedly ended up in a trucker’s blind spot may be deemed partially responsible for their own damages based on the legal theory of comparative negligence.
We Help Injured Victims Secure the Maximum Financial Compensation
Following a serious commercial truck accident in Stockton, San Joaquin County, or elsewhere in California, it is imperative that victims are able to secure the compensation that they need to pay their bills and support their family. At Redkey Gordon Law Corp, it is our mission to help clients obtain the financial compensation for the full extent of their damages, including economic losses and non-economic losses. Depending on the nature and severity of your tractor trailer crash, you may be entitled to recover financial compensation for:
- Automobile repairs;
- Emergency medical care;
- Medical expenses;
- Physical therapy;
- Lost wages;
- Loss of earnings;
- Pain and suffering;
- Mental distress;
- Long-term disfigurement; and
- Wrongful death damages.
Contact Our Stockton Semi-Truck Accident Lawyer Today
At Redkey Gordon Law Corp, our Stockon semi-truck accident attorney is standing by, ready to go the extra mile to help you secure the maximum available financial compensation. If you or your loved one was hurt in a crash involving a truck’s “no-zone”, we can help. Call us now or connect with us online to get your free, no obligation consultation. From our Stockton office, we fight for the rights and interests of semi-truck accident victims throughout San Joaquin County.