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Driving blind: What you can’t see can be fatal

Most people think that because a truck is higher than a car, truck drivers must have a better view of what’s around them. Well, they’re wrong – trucks have much bigger blind spots than cars. 

Truck blind spots, and the road users that are unaware of them, are one of the most common causes of collisions on Australian roads each year. 

While trucks differ across make and model, and the size and type of mirrors fitted may differ, they all have similar blind areas where other road users simply cannot be seen. 

These blind areas are most commonly:

  • Directly in front of the truck
  • Directly behind the truck
  • Beside the drivers door
  • On the passenger side, extending into the adjacent lane and backwards 
  • Left of the bonnet on bonneted trucks.

Driving a truck is not an easy task and having to deal with other road users that position themselves in the truck’s blind spot simply adds to the stress. 

While other road users should be aware of truck blind spots, there is still a duty-of-care and a responsibility of truck drivers, as professional drivers, to minimise harm on the road.

So what can we do to reduce the risk of blind spot related collisions?

Education  

Governments and road authorities make concerted efforts to educate motorists on the potential dangers of truck blind spots. Naturally, this is the most effective means to mitigate the risks, but the majority of road users are still unaware or simply don’t pay enough attention when driving around trucks.

Positioning of mirrors

The position of a truck’s mirrors, set-up correctly to suit the driver and the truck they’re driving, can have a huge impact on the view from the cabin. Sometimes, just a slight adjustment, can make a world of difference to what can and can’t be seen.

Fit additional mirrors

Truck drivers can install extra mirrors, which can assist in providing wider or convex views. Placing a mirror on the passenger-side bonnet can also help.

Install accessories

In addition to extra mirrors, there are a number of technology solutions that assist in reducing the risk of a collision. These include blind spot sensors or radar, or cameras on the sides of the truck.

Be extra vigilant

Before changing lanes or turning at intersections, check twice in your mirrors; check your surroundings and use the technologies if you have them installed. It’s safer to be over-cautious and always expect that someone else may not be as aware as you yourself.

This National Road Safety Week (May 15-22), make an extra effort to drive safely and protect the other road users that share the road with your truck. Remember, you’re much bigger than them and a collision could be fatal.

Visit the Spotto website and get a blind spot radar for your truck between May 15-22 and save 20 per cent by entering the code BIGRIGS at checkout.

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