Risk Zone: Alongside the Rear Section of My Trailer on My Right Side, Where I Can See You Partially in My Large Right Mirror and Fully in the Small Convex Mirror Below It

Last Edited: April 16, 2017 // by TruckerScape, Inc.

Risk Zone Pluses and Minuses

The pluses and minuses for you in this risk zone, extending from the trailer tail to the tandems in their full forward position, are similar to those in the corresponding left zone.  Among the pluses, you may feel secure in this position because you are able to see the road ahead of my truck reasonably well and are out of the path of debris thrown rearward from my trailer tires.  The midships (middle) trailer turn signal/emergency flasher light should be readily visible to you.

Also you may think I can see you easily in my large right mirror.  However, your vehicle’s image has begun to leave that mirror through its outer (right) edge, though it remains in the small convex mirror below it and enters the outer (right) section of the small convex mirror over the right fender.  The image has thus begun to diminish (stand out less well) within my total mirrored field of vision.  Per the Vision tip in the Truck Handling Characteristics and Limitations chapter, keep in mind that you generally show up less well in my right side mirrors.

In wet or snowy weather your vehicle may still be hit by water or snow thrown sideways from my trailer tandems and by blowback from the front of my truck. These may obscure your view of the road ahead and my view of you, more so in this right risk zone than in the corresponding left zone.  Also your vehicle may be hit by shrapnel thrown sideways from a trailer tire blowout.  It is generally best to move out of this and other risk zones alongside my truck as soon as it is practical, safe and lawful to do so.

Changing Lanes to My Right

If you stay in this risk zone, you block me from changing lanes to the right.  On the open road (typically on interstates or major highways with two or more lanes in each direction, in sparse traffic, usually in the countryside), other truck drivers and I routinely drive in the right lane to allow faster traffic to pass on the left.  After changing lanes to the left for emergency vehicles, highway maintenance equipment and personnel or other vehicles and people on the right shoulder or to pass slower traffic, I will attempt to change back to the right lane.

Sometimes a driver will pull up into this risk zone from behind me before I can complete the change, in spite of my right turn signal.  Then I have to wait for the driver to pass me on the right or exit the highway.  In a left lane my speed is usually at the maximum governed rate of 65 mph (miles per hour) and maintaining that speed is generally a better option than slowing down, especially if I have just passed some slower traffic.

With my truck’s speed limitation, I can’t pass you in any timely fashion unless your speed is noticeably slower than mine.  Many drivers, unconsciously or not, speed up when they see me swing out to pass them on their left.  Then some ease off after a while to let me complete the pass while others continue on ahead of me.  Hopefully, rather than speeding up and then settling in this rearward zone, you’ll let me get on by you.

In an emergency requiring a quick lane change to the right, this risk zone is more problematic than the corresponding left zone.  Since you show up less well on my right side, I cannot clear you (be sure of your relative position and speed) as easily, so my decision and reaction will be delayed.  Once I determine that my speed is greater than yours I may be able to take evasive action by swerving into your lane ahead of you.  You can facilitate this maneuver by recognizing the emergency and braking hard.  If your speed is greater, you will be moving forward toward the front of my truck and becoming more of an obstacle.  Unless you recognize the situation and react quickly, I will have to brake hard to let you get all the way past the front of my truck before changing into your lane.

Takeaways

Risk zones on a truck’s right side are more hazardous than those on its left.

When in this risk zone, stay ready to brake in case the truck driver needs to move right into your lane.

Settling in this risk zone exposes you to road splash, snow blowback and blown tire fragments as well as possible collision in an emergency.

As a general rule, move out of this and all other risk zones around a truck as soon as it is practical, safe and lawful to do so.

When a truck trailing your vehicle moves into the lane to your left to pass you, let the driver complete the pass and return to your lane in front of you.

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