Caution Zone: Even With the Middle Section of My Trailer on My Left Side, 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 even with the midships (middle) section of my trailer (even with the trailer’s midships turn signal/emergency flasher light) and two lanes to the left of my lane, your vehicle’s image does not show up well in the mirrors on my left side.  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 (has advanced beyond 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 lines 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 you move one lane to your right to get alongside the midships (middle) section of my trailer (even with the trailer’s midships turn signal/emergency flasher light), I may not see your move until it is completed.  Once you’re in the lane next to mine on my left, your vehicle’s image will be split about evenly between my large left mirror and the small convex mirror below it.  You will be in a “no man’s land” risk zone where I have to keep close track of you (see the Risk Zone:  Alongside the Middle Section of My Trailer on My Left Side, Where I can See You Partially in My Large Left Mirror and Partially in The Small Convex Mirror Below It 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 you pull forward and get even with the front of my trailer (even with the trailer headwall and just behind my tractor’s drive wheels) before moving one lane to your right, I again may not see your move until it is completed.  Once you’re in the lane next to mine on my left, your vehicle’s image will have shifted in full to the small convex mirror below my large left mirror and consequently will be diminished (will stand out less well) within my total mirrored field of vision.  You will still be in a “no man’s land” risk zone where I have to keep close track of you (See the Risk Zone:  Alongside the Front of My Trailer on My Left Side, Where I can See You in the Small Convex Mirror Below My Large Left Mirror tip).

When you’re this far forward, I’ll be waiting for you to advance (hopefully briskly) through all the other risk zones in the lane to my left including the final one in front 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).  I advise personal vehicle drivers to pass my truck whenever it is practical, safe and lawful to do so.

Once your vehicle is safely out in front of my truck, I will prepare to change to the lane next to mine on my left, signaling and checking my large mirror, the small convex mirrors and my direct sight lines on my left side for any traffic in that lane and then checking for vehicles moving into that lane from the next lane over.

If I begin to change lanes to my left at the same time as your move to your right, I will need your help in avoiding a possible collision.  Hopefully you will see my turn signal and cancel your move.  Although there is a better chance I’ll hear your horn as you advance towards my tractor on my left side, you should not rely on it to head me off (see the Hearing tip in the Truck Handling Characteristics and Limitations chapter).

If you defer to me, you will wind up alongside the front of my trailer (even with the trailer headwall and just behind my tractor’s drive wheels), but obviously not in the lane you want (see the Risk Zone:  Alongside the Front of My Trailer on My Left Side, Where I can See You in the Small Convex Mirror Below My Large Left Mirror tip).  I’ll be keeping track of you in the small convex mirror below my large left mirror, and again expecting you to advance (hopefully briskly) through all the other risk zones in the lane to my left including the final one in front 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).

Another clearing option is for you to move one lane to your left, returning to two lanes to the left of my lane.  Your vehicle’s image will leave the mirrors on my left side.  Then if you slide back even with the midships (middle) section of my trailer (even with the trailer’s midships turn signal/emergency flasher light), your vehicle’s image will continue to be out of my mirrored and direct view.  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 returned about evenly between my large left mirror and the small convex mirror below it.

If you move one lane to your left and remain even with the front of my trailer (even with the trailer headwall and just behind my tractor’s drive wheels), your vehicle’s image will still be out of my direct and mirrored view.  This will cause me to be more cautious in moving to the lane to my left, even though the large mirror, small convex mirrors and my direct sight lines on my left side show that you’ve exited that lane.

Once I’ve completed my lane change to get alongside your vehicle on my left side, the location of your vehicle’s mirrored image will depend on where your vehicle winds up.  If you slow down and get alongside my trailer’s midships (middle) section (alongside the trailer’s midships turn signal/emergency flasher light), your vehicle’s image will be split about evenly between my large left mirror and the small convex mirror below it (see the Risk Zone:  Alongside the Middle Section of My Trailer on My Left Side, Where I can See You Partially in My Large Left Mirror and Partially in The Small Convex Mirror Below It tip).

If you drift back to a position slightly forward of the midships section, more of your vehicle’s image will have begun to move out of my large left mirror to the small convex mirror below it.  If you remain alongside the front of my trailer, your vehicle’s image will rest completely in the small convex mirror (see the Risk Zone:  Alongside the Front of My Trailer on My Left Side, Where I Can See You in the Small Convex Mirror Below My Large Left Mirror tip).

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