Fleet Safety Tip: Large Vehicle Visibility

Nov 10, 2011
This week’s fleet safety tip from Automotive Fleet and the Tennessee Department of Safety is about the visibility restrictions of large vehicles. These vehicles have different blind spots and clearance than most cars and trucks, and should be treated accordingly. Make sure your drivers know what to do with these tips:

Many motorists falsely assume that drivers of trucks and buses can see the road better because they sit twice as high as the driver of a small vehicle. While trucks and buses do enjoy a better forward view and have bigger mirrors, they have serious blind spots into which a small vehicle can disappear from view.
The “No-Zone” represents danger areas around trucks and buses where crashes are more likely to occur.

1. The area approximately up to 20 feet directly in front of a large vehicle is considered a No-Zone. When small vehicles cut in too soon after passing or changing lanes, then abruptly slow down, trucks and buses are forced to compensate with very little room or time to spare.

2. Unlike small vehicles, trucks and buses have deep blind spots directly behind them. Avoid following too closely in this No-Zone. If you stay in the rear blind spot of a large vehicle, you increase the possibility of a traffic crash. The driver of the bus or truck cannot see your vehicle and your view of the traffic ahead will be severely reduced.

3. Large vehicles have much larger blind spots on both sides than cars do. When you drive in these blind spots for any length of time, the vehicle's driver cannot see you. When passing, even if the vehicle's driver knows you are there, remaining alongside a large vehicle too long makes it impossible for the driver to take evasive action if an obstacle appears in the roadway ahead.

4. Truck and bus drivers often cannot see vehicles directly behind or beside them when they are attempting to safely negotiate a right turn. If you cut in between the truck or bus and the curb or shoulder to the right, this maneuver greatly increases the possibility of a crash in this "right turn squeeze."

If your fleet utilizes any large trucks like the ones mentioned in these tips, make sure that your drivers are aware of their vehicles’ limitations and are trained to drive safely and do their part to avoid these costly accidents.

Photo courtesy of Cliff Cooper and re-used under the Creative Commons license.