Caution Zone: Close Behind My Truck and Two lanes to the Left of Mine

Last Edited: July 28, 2016 // by TruckerScape, Inc.

Seeing Vehicles Two Lanes to My Left

When your vehicle is close behind my truck and two lanes to the left of my lane, your vehicle’s image shows up in the outer portion of my truck’s large left mirror.  When preparing to change to the lane next to mine on my left, I will be signaling and checking my tractor’s large mirror, the small convex mirrors and my direct sight lines on my left side for any traffic in that lane.  If that lane is empty I will check for vehicles moving into that lane from the next lane over (your lane) before initiating my lane change.

This second check for vehicle movement from two lanes over is not perfect.  Once a vehicle two lanes to my left has passed the rear section of my trailer (passed the trailer tandems at their full forward position), it virtually disappears from mirrored and direct view until it is even with my tractor.  (My large left mirror and the small convex mirrors mounted below the large mirror and on my tractor’s left fender are aimed back along the sides of my tractor and trailer at the lane next to mine on my left, and their fields of vision out to their sides are limited.)

At night or in other dim conditions, headlight reflections on the outer rims of my small convex mirrors and ambient light may alert me to a vehicle in the left side blind area that I may be able to confirm by leaning backward and forward and side to side to alter my mirror sight lines.  However I prefer to wait to see if the vehicle will pull forward where it is more visible.  Once even with my tractor and in front of it, vehicles appear in my direct line of sight out my left side window and windshield.

As a general rule it is safest to assume that when your vehicle is two lanes to the left of my lane, it is not visible to me until it is even with, or in front of my tractor.  One other important non-mirror detail:  I have a broader direct view out the left side of my cab (tractor) than out the right side.

When You and I Change Lanes

If I do see you changing lanes behind my truck in my large left mirror, I will hesitate to check which lane you wind up in.  If you move two lanes to your right to get close and directly behind my truck, I won’t be too concerned about you because of your vehicle’s maneuverability and its position out of my truck’s stopping/slowing down path (see the Risk Zone:  Close and Directly Behind My Truck tip).

However, once I have completed my lane change to the left you will be in a riskier zone, close behind my truck but in the right lane next to mine.  I will have to keep closer track of you there (see the Risk Zone:  Close Behind My Truck but in the Right Lane Next to Mine, Where I Can See You in My Large Right Mirror tip).

If you move one lane to your right to get close behind my truck in the lane to the left of mine, I will delay my change to that lane until I’m sure my trailer tail is safely past the front of your vehicle (see the Risk Zone:  Close Behind My Truck but in the Left Lane Next to Mine, Where I Can See You in My Large Left Mirror tip).  Once I’ve completed my lane change to the left, you will be in a less risky zone (see the Risk Zone:  Close and Directly Behind My Truck tip).

If you pull forward and then move one lane to your right alongside the rear section of my trailer (from the tail to the trailer tandems at their full forward position), your vehicle’s image will shift from the outer edge of my truck’s large left mirror to the mirror’s center (see the Risk Zone:  Alongside the Rear Section of My Trailer on My Left Side, Where I Can See You in My Large Left Mirror tip).  I will have to delay my lane change to my left until your vehicle is a safe distance behind my trailer or elsewhere out of all obstructive risk zones in that lane.  If I am able to pull ahead and/or you slide back, I will move into your lane only when I’m sure my trailer tail is safely past the front of your vehicle (see the Risk Zone:  Close and Directly Behind My Truck tip).

If I begin to change lanes to my left at the same time as your move to your right, I may need your help in avoiding a possible collision.  Hopefully you will see my turn signal and cancel your move.  You should not rely on your horn to head me off as I may not hear it from so far behind my cab (see the Hearing tip in the Truck Handling Characteristics and Limitations chapter).

If you defer to me, you will wind up alongside the rear section of my trailer but obviously not in the lane you want (see the Risk Zone:  Alongside the Rear Section of My Trailer on My Left Side, Where I Can See You in My Large Left Mirror tip).  You will then have to wait until you can move right into my lane well ahead of my truck (see the Risk Zone:  Close in Front of My Truck and in the Left Lane Next to Mine and the Risk Zone:  Close and Directly in Front of My Truck tips), or move right behind my truck a safe distance (see the Risk Zone:  Close and Directly Behind My Truck tip).

Another clearing option is for you to move one lane to your left, returning to two lanes to the left of my lane.  Then if you stay even with the rear section of my trailer (from the tail to the trailer tandems at their full forward position) or slide back, your vehicle’s image will remain in the outer edge of my truck’s large left mirror or shift slightly towards its center.  I will change one lane to my left only after confirming that you have completed your move.

Once I’ve completed my lane change, your vehicle’s image will have shifted to the center of the large left mirror.  You will be in one of the rear risk zones on my left side (see the Risk Zone:  Alongside the Rear Section of My Trailer on My Left Side, Where I Can See You in My Large Left Mirror and the Risk Zone:  Close Behind My Truck but in the Left Lane Next to Mine, Where I Can See You in My Large Left Mirror tips).

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