INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.-- According to the American Trucking Association (ATA), in 60 percent of crashes involving a semi and a four-wheel vehicle, the semi driver is not at fault.
“I’ve seen some accidents that those people aren’t going to be there again, that’s the end of their life that day. And when they got in the car that morning that’s the last thing they thought was going to happen to them,” said ATA Road Team Captain Chad Miller.
Miller says the two most dangerous mistakes drivers make are cutting off big rigs and following them too closely.
Indiana State Police (ISP) Trooper Rob Hawkins led a blitz to warn drivers about driving dangerously around semi trucks. In just two days on this particular week, ISP issued nearly 100 warnings to people driving recklessly around semis.
“People don’t realize that trucking companies are really trying to improve their safety ratings,” said Hawkins.
Hawkins says his biggest concern is stopping cars from following semis too closely. Keeping the legal distance from a semi is crucial to avoiding their four major blind spots.
The first blind spot is in front of the truck. Miller says the rule of thumb is if you can’t see the truck's headlights, the truck can’t see you.
“The second blind spot is on the right hand side of the truck, and that’s the largest blind spot. It goes right from behind the door all the way back to the trailer,” said Miller.
The third blind spot is the back of the truck. Under Indiana law, vehicles must stay at least 300 feet behind a semi.
“The last blind spot is on the left side. It’s usually right next to the tractor driver's tires. You don’t want to linger there, when it’s safe to do so, try to pass us,” said Miller.
Trooper Hawkins urges drivers to give trucks that 300 feet in following distance. That's about the length of three semis.