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Truck Stopping Time: What Do You Need to Know?

Posted in Truck Accidents on February 26, 2018

The expansive size of 18-wheeler trucks makes the dangers surrounding them greater than they are for normal-sized vehicles. If something goes awry with a truck, more people could be at risk. The drivers, however, are also a contributing factor to this danger. Truck drivers are required to drive a certain distance each day, which means they must often drive while they are exhausted and, therefore, less alert. It is important that all drivers know about the need for proper rest, so everyone can do their best to stay safe. If you have experienced injury or damage involving a truck accident, the attorneys at Butler Prather LLP can provide support and representation to help you get the compensation you need.

Braking Statistics

The distance and time it takes a driver of any vehicle to stop is often a large factor in traffic accidents. A normal car takes around 316 feet to come to a full stop while it is traveling 65 miles per hour. A semi-truck takes approximately 525 feet at the same speed. This is after the driver has recognized the need to stop. This is an extremely significant distance, requiring the truck driver to be even more alert than the automobile driver.

Factors for Truck Stopping Success

Multiple variables contribute to this stopping distance, one of which is perception. This means the time that it takes for the driver to realize the need to stop, and how much farther the vehicle travels before recognizing this.

Closely related to this is reaction time. Reaction time is how long it takes for the driver to move from mentally realizing the need to stop to applying the brakes. Both the perception and reaction times add up to around 1.5 seconds for most drivers of trucks and cars.

Weight is also a large reason it takes semi-trucks longer to come to a complete stop. While the average weight of a car is 5,000 pounds, semi-trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. Semi-trucks have larger breaks to partially compensate for this difference, but the exponentially larger weight still adds a significant distance to a truck stopping.

Trucks also have different brake systems than most cars, as well as increased weight. Regular cars usually have hydraulic brakes that react almost instantly when activated. Semi-trucks have air brakes. Air brakes need air to travel throughout the entire truck before beginning to work. This gives semi-trucks a larger lag time between pressing the brake and the truck beginning to stop.

Other factors include speed, cab height, and road conditions. The faster the truck is going, the longer it will take to stop, just as with any other vehicle. Also, drivers of semi-trucks are sitting up higher than most passenger vehicles. This can affect their reaction time, because it can be easier for them to see any dangerous situations in front of them, allowing them a small increment of extra time to apply the brakes.

Dangerous conditions on the road impair trucks more than passenger vehicles. If the roads are slippery or have anything on them that may inhibit the ability for tires to grip, the increased weight of the truck will intensify the normal reaction that a car may have if it slips. Additionally, any weather that may visually impair a driver is especially dangerous because of the extra time and awareness that truck drivers need to react safely.

If you are Injured in a Truck Accident…

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident involving a truck, you need an attorney who understands Georgia’s truck laws and the expectations for semi-truck drivers. At Butler Prather LLP, we have been practicing personal injury law since 1988 and have the experience and knowledge to represent you. Reach out to us today, and we’ll help ensure that you are awarded the damages that you deserve.