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Factors Determining Stopping Distances For Commercial Trucks

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Factors Determining Stopping Distances For Commercial Trucks

(Photo : grayomm via Unsplash)

It is common knowledge that driving a truck is much riskier compared to other low-duty vehicles. Hence due to the increased risk and potential for causing excessive damage, the truck drivers and the trucking industry are strictly regulated. A strict set of rules are provided for truck drivers that need to be followed, such as the number of miles that they can travel in a day, the number of breaks that are mandatory to take, the hours that they can travel in a stretch, the condition of the truck, amongst others. All these strict rules are kept to ensure the safety of the truck driver and the other passengers on the road as due to the large and bulky nature of trucks, these vehicles are more prone to accidents and causing heavy damages. One safety feature that truck drivers must be well aware of when driving their trucks is the stopping distance. Due to the following reasons:

Research-based data proving why truck drivers should be more cautious of their stopping distance: 

A regular passenger vehicle (car) requires approximately 316 feet to come to a complete stop after pressing the brakes. In comparison, a semi-truck requires a distance of 535 feet to come to a complete stop after the brakes have been pressed. This signifies that the truck driver needs to maintain a more considerable distance from other vehicles as the truck requires a greater stopping distance. 

For thorough research of the stopping distance, many various factors play a part, such as:

The reaction time of a truck driver compared to a car driver:

The reaction times of both the vehicle drivers to recognize the need to apply brakes and then press the brakes is almost the same, at an average of 1.5 seconds. Yet, the truck requires more time to come to a stop compared to the car driver. So, if a truck driver and car driver both react to a situation on the road and apply the brakes simultaneously, a car will come to a stop earlier than the truck.

Weight of the Vehicle:

The vehicle's weight is a factor that plays a huge role in determining the stopping distance of a vehicle. The drastic difference between a car and a semi-truck is an essential factor in the varying differences in the stopping distance of these vehicles. On average, a car weighs 5,000 pounds, while a semi-truck weighs up to 80,000 pounds! Hence, despite a semi-truck having a more extensive and stronger brake system, the time required for a car to come to a stop is much lower at 124 feet when traveling at 40 mph, compared to that of a truck at 169 feet when traveling at 40 mph. 

Speed of the Vehicle:

Physics proves that the faster a vehicle is traveling, the more time it will require to come to a stop, and hence speed is an instrumental factor in determining the stopping distance of a vehicle. Due to the stopping tendencies and distances of a semi-truck compared to a car, a truck's speed limit is set lower than an average passenger car. 

Other factors:

Several other factors, such as the height and perception of the truck, the weather conditions (i.e., slippery road, rough terrain), tire treads, etc., can all affect the stopping distance of a truck. Most expert drivers are well aware of these factors and drive these commercial vehicles calculated to keep in check all these factors. 

Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer:

"If you or your loved one has been affected and incurred losses due to a truck accident, you can evaluate all these factors using tools such as onboard computer data usually stored in commercial vehicles, CCTV recordings, and file for compensation for your losses," states personal injury lawyer Felix Gonzalez

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