Risk Zones Introduction

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

Assume you are driving close to my truck 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) and it is safe and lawful to pull away.  Why would you want to hang around?  If you’ve read the Truck Handling Characteristics and Limitations chapter, your answer is you wouldn’t.  Yet drivers still do stay close to me on interstates and highways when they don’t have to.  TO REPEAT:  It is generally advisable to move out of certain positions around a big truck (“out of range”) whenever it is practical, safe and lawful to do so.

In this chapter we will cover specific areas around my truck and potential dangers they hold.  Among various cautionary billboards and portable lighted signs along interstates is one billboard saying simply “Give big rigs plenty of room.”  If you settle in one of these areas you are doing the exact opposite.

I call these areas Risk Zones because if you’re in one of them and either of us has an emergency or accident there is a good chance the other will be involved.  Moreover, in these zones you hamper or limit the maneuvers I can make to avoid hazards and prevent accidents.  A collision with my truck is the last thing you should want.

While our focus will be on highway driving, the observations and advice in this chapter will also hold for the slower speeds on surface streets.

NOTE:  Keep in mind that while discussing our possible maneuvers to escape risk zones alongside my truck, we have to assume you are the only driver in any of those zones, so my truck is free from other traffic obstacles.

It may be helpful to review the Vision and Lights tips in the Truck Handling Characteristics and Limitations chapter before continuing with the following zone tips:

Risk Zones

Close and directly behind my truck

Close behind my truck but in the left lane next to mine, where I can see you in my large left mirror

Close behind my truck but in the right lane next to mine, where I can see you in my large right mirror

Alongside the rear section of my trailer on my left side, where I can see you in my large left mirror

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

Alongside the middle section of my trailer on my left side, where I can see you partially in my large left mirror and fully in the small convex mirror below it

Alongside the middle section of my trailer on my right side, where I can see you in the small convex mirror below my large right mirror

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

Alongside the front of my trailer on my right side, where I can see you in the small convex mirror below my large right mirror

Alongside my tractor on my left side, where I can see you out my left side window and in the convex mirror over my tractor’s left front fender

Alongside my tractor on my right side, where you show up in the convex mirror over my tractor’s right front fender but only partially out my right side window

Alongside the front of my tractor on my left side, where I can see you out my left side window but only marginally in the convex mirror over my tractor’s left front fender

Alongside the front of my tractor on my right side, where you do not show up well directly out my right side window or in the convex mirror over my tractor’s right front fender

Close and directly in front of my truck

Close in front of my truck and in the left lane next to mine

Close in front of my truck and in the right lane next to mine

Takeaways

Specific areas around a truck are called Risk Zones because if you’re in one of them and either you or the truck driver has an emergency or accident, there is a good chance the other will be involved.

Also, in a risk zone you hamper or limit the maneuvers a truck driver can make to avoid hazards and prevent accidents.

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

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