On any given day, there are thousands of semi trucks on Texas roads. It is important to understand how to drive safely around these roadway behemoths.
Large vehicles like semi trucks operate differently than small passenger vehicles. For example, it is important to stay out of the “no zones” of semi trucks. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the no zones are the very large blind spots that are on all four sides of a semi truck.
How large are the blind spots on a semi truck?
There are large blind spots in front, behind, and on either side of a semi truck. The blind spot in front of a semi truck extends for approximately 20 feet, while the blind spot behind the semi truck will extend for 30 ft. On the left side of a semi truck the blind spot is one lane, but on the right side of a semi truck the blind-spot extends for two whole lanes.
This means it is imperative that you only pass a semi truck on the left side. If you try to pass on the right side of the truck, it is likely that the driver will not be able to see you. If traffic allows, you should ensure that you do not drive directly in a no zone.
How can I pass a semi truck safely?
The safest way to pass a semi truck is to give the truck as much space as possible. Make sure to only pass the truck on the left side, and be going at a fast enough speed to pass very quickly. Assume that if you cannot see the mirrors on a semi truck, the driver is unable to see you.