Survey finds most four-wheelers in the dark about your truck's blind spots

Updated Jul 10, 2024
Blind spot graph

A recent survey seems to confirm what many truckers have long believed: other motorists don't know how to drive around big trucks.

A survey of 1,000 people by  FinditParts found the majority of other motorists -- the folks truckers refer to as "four wheelers" -- don't realize they are unseen when in the blind spots of tractor-trailers. It also found about two-thirds of people who say they feel unsafe around big rigs, blame the trucker and their rig.

The key issues identified in the survey included:

  • fewer than one in every 20 Americans can correctly point out all of a semi's blind spots
  • one in three Americans don't know how to safely pass trucks on the highway
  • around 65% of drivers who feel unsafe around semis blame the truck or truck driver
  • 30% of Americans feel driver's ed courses failed to prepare them for sharing the road with tractor-trailers

The survey also found that less that 5% of those surveyed could correctly identify all of the blind spots of a tractor-trailer. Some 80% of motorists did not know there is a blind spot in front of a large truck, and 65% of respondents said they saw another motorist change lanes directly in front of a tractor-trailer.

In reporting the results its survey, FinditParts also offered some tips to motorists for driving around big rigs. They include:

    • Keep a safe distance: According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, you should keep about five seconds of distance between your car and a semi at speeds of more than 40 mph.
    • Avoid cutting off trucks: When passing a semi, make sure you give them enough room (one car length for every 10 mph) before merging into their lane. 
    • Learn semi-truck blind spots: The data shows that most people don't know all of a truck's blind spots. 
    • Don't linger in blind spots: Once you know where a truck's blind spots are, make sure not to linger in them. Pass at a safe, consistent speed so you don't stay next to the truck for too long, and keep an eye on your distance when directly in front of or behind a truck.
    • Look for the truck driver's face: If you're feeling unsure about whether you're in a truck's blind spot, remember this rule: If you can see a truck driver's face in their side mirrors, then they can see you. 
    • Stay off your cell phone or other devices: It's important to keep your eyes on the road while driving, especially when sharing the road with large trucks. 
    • Always pass on the left: Remember to never pass trucks on the right. Consistently following this rule makes sure you're where the driver expects you to be when passing. This also ensures they can safely return to the right lane if they've temporarily moved to the left lane.
    • Err on the side of caution: When in doubt, always give extra space to trucks when merging, passing, or following. The more space you give, the safer you (and the truck driver) are.

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