Giving commercial truckers their space in Missouri

As you are aware, St. Charles County is split by Interstate 70 and this means that you likely see a large number of commercial truckers traveling through the county on a regular basis. It also likely means that you have come into close contact with them and perhaps have even had a close call with one or two. Truck accidents can cause a great deal more damage than other vehicles because of their sheer size.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol reported that in 2011, over 3,000 people were injured in an accident involving a commercial vehicle. In addition, 120 people died, making up 15.2 percent of all fatalities involving traffic accidents within the state. In some of these cases it is likely that people failed to understand that commercial trucks do not have the same capabilities as passenger vehicles and that it is important to give truckers plenty of space.

The no-zones

Because of the size of these commercial vehicles, they have what are referred to as "no-zones" according to the Missouri Department of Revenue. No zones are essentially blind spots. A tractor trailer has four main zones where the driver won't be able to see you or your vehicle. These zones are:

  • Directly behind the truck
  • On the left side just behind the truck's cab
  • On the right side behind the truck's cab; this blind spot extends the entire length of the truck's trailer(s)
  • Directly in front of the truck cab

While blind spots are relatively small for passenger vehicles, they are larger for commercial truckers, due to the fact that the driver is pulling a large trailer or two and sits much higher, which creates a limit on his visual space. When you are driving on a multi-lane highway or freeway you should avoid driving on the side of the truck for any period of time because, chances are, the driver can't see you there.

Speed and distance

If you tried to estimate the speed of an approaching tractor trailer, chances are that your guess would be wrong. This is because commercial vehicles often give the appearance that they are moving slower than they really are. The reason for this, according to MDOR is the truck's immense size. If you see a truck coming, don't try to cross the intersection. It's best to play it safe and wait for the truck to pass before moving.

While driving on the road, you have probably seen other drivers tail-gaiting commercial vehicles or cutting truckers off. What these drivers don't know is that, unlike a passenger car, commercial trucks do not have the ability to stop on a dime. On average, it takes a truck with a full load, and traveling at 55 miles per hour, close to 400 feet to come to a complete stop. If your vehicle is in that 400 foot space, you are likely going to get hit by the truck.

By being aware of a commercial vehicle's limitations and giving a trucker ample space, you can reduce your risk of becoming involved in a truck accident and suffering serious injuries. If you are the victim of a truck accident you should meet with an experienced attorney for legal advice.