Hidden Hazard! 95% of Americans Don't Realize They Might Be in a Truck's Blind Spot [Survey]

FP
Findit Parts

June 21, 2024

Hidden Hazard! 95% of Americans Don't Realize They Might Be in a Truck's Blind Spot [Survey]

Every year, there are hundreds of thousands of crashes involving large trucks. While statistics like this make some Americans afraid to share the road with semis, research shows that 80% of car-truck accidents are caused by car drivers. This led us to ask: How much do people know about driving around semi-trucks, and what are their biggest blind spots when it comes to road safety? We surveyed over 1,000 adult drivers to find out what they know (and how they feel) about driving around semis.

Key Takeaways:

  • Fewer than 1 in every 20 Americans can correctly point out all of a semi's blind spots.

  • 1 in 3 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 semis.

Almost No One Could Identify All of a Semi-Truck's Blind Spots

For many of us, the last time we were quizzed on semi-truck blind spots was during driver's ed—and it might be time for a review. Our survey found that only a small fraction of Americans (4.64%) could correctly identify all of a semi's blind spots.

We asked respondents to look at the following diagram. To answer correctly, they needed to identify every blind spot. Nineteen out of every 20 respondents missed or incorrectly identified at least one.

Image showing the 4 semi-truck blind spots: directly in front of the truck, directly behind, and to its right and left

Semi-trucks are much longer and taller than passenger vehicles, giving them sizable blind spots in front of the cab and on either side of the trailer. They also lack a rear-view mirror, which creates another major visibility hazard.

When sharing the road with semi-trucks, knowing whether or not the driver can see you is critical. If you move into one of the shaded areas pictured above, there's a chance your car will be invisible to truck drivers. This can lead to situations where a semi-truck might sideswipe a car without even knowing it's there.

Avoiding these blind spots not only protects you—it also helps keep truck drivers safe, reducing the likelihood of a collision if they need to change lanes suddenly.

Most People Don’t Know There’s a Blind Spot Directly in Front of Semis

Graphic showing the statistic that 4 out of 5 American drivers don't know there's a blind spot directly in front of semis

Across all demographics, 80% of Americans were unaware that driving in front of semi-trucks puts you in a blind spot. Typically, truck drivers can't detect cars that are less than 20 feet ahead of their cab–the drivers sit too high off the ground to be able to see what's directly in front of them. This means that a majority of automobile drivers in the U.S. mistakenly think their vehicle is visible whenever they're in front of a semi. This is even more concerning considering that 64% of people reported seeing another driver change lanes immediately in front of a large truck.

Driving in a semi-truck's blind spot can lead to serious collisions. The fact that so few people are aware of these blind spots may help explain why 4 out of 5 car-truck crashes are caused by car drivers. Nevertheless, 65% of drivers who feel unsafe around semis blame the truck or truck driver.

Safe Driving Around Semis Could Save a Life

Graph showing the number of people killed in large truck crashes each year from 2012-2022, with a marked increase in 2021 and 2022spot directly in front of semis

Knowing semi-truck blind spots isn't just important for passing driver's ed—it could help save a life. In 2021, there were nearly half a million crashes involving large trucks, and in the following year, 5,936 people died in large-truck crashes. Based on data trends, it's likely that these numbers will continue to rise.

Preventing collisions starts with education, but 50% of Americans believe driver's ed failed to adequately prepare them to drive safely around semis. With so few people able to correctly identify truck blind spots, it's clear that learning about road safety shouldn't end in our teenage years. Closing this knowledge gap will lead to better driver awareness and, as a result, lower the chances of being involved in a dangerous crash.

Tips for Sharing the Road With Large Trucks

When it comes to driving safely around semi-trucks, there are a number of tips to keep in mind:

  • 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. To ensure that you're always visible to truck drivers, brush up on your blind spot knowledge using our diagram here.

  • 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.

Our survey findings suggest the need for continuing education about road safety in the United States. Generally, even respondents who rated themselves as highly knowledgeable about driving around semis were unable to identify every blind spot. Despite this fact, many Americans still blame trucks and truck drivers for the majority of car-truck collisions.

At FinditParts, we sell the heavy-duty trucking parts you need to ensure your big rigs hit the road as safely as possible. By promoting responsible driving habits, we empower drivers to get their jobs done securely and efficiently, making the road a safer place for everyone.

Methodology

The survey of over 1,000 adults ages 18+ was conducted via SurveyMonkey Audience for FinditParts on May 29, 2024. Data is unweighted and the margin of error is approximately +/-3% for the overall sample with a 95% confidence level.

Related Posts

Album

Get the Parts You Need

At FinditParts, we offer the full range of parts to keep up with the demand of your evolving industry.