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There are a lot of factors that make driving a truck a much different prospect than driving a car. The sheer size of a truck and trailer means that they require a wider turning radius than standard cars. Another significant difference is that large trucks have air brakes instead of the hydraulic brakes used on smaller vehicles. One notable difference between driving a car and driving a truck is that the latter has a much longer stopping distance than a car.
A longer stopping distance means that a truck has a greater chance of rear-ending a vehicle in situations where it needs to stop suddenly. The lengthy stopping distance of a truck is one of the most common causes of truck accidents and those accidents can be devastating because of the size and weight disparity between a truck and nearly every other vehicle on the road. If you have been in a truck accident, then you should contact a personal injury attorney because they can help you get the compensation you need to take care of any expenses caused by the accident.
The Stopping Distance of an 18 Wheeler
A big rig has a much longer stopping distance than a car but there are a number of factors that affect exactly how long that stopping distance actually is. The speed at which the 18 wheeler is traveling before the brakes are applied is one big factor as the faster it is going, the greater the distance it needs to come to a stop. The weight of the cargo is also a significant factor as the heavier it is, the longer the stopping distance. The weather and how it affects the road also affect the stopping distance because it increases when the road is slippery because of ice, snow, or rain. The condition of the tires also plays a role as worn-down tires will increase the stopping distance.
However, on average, and in ideal conditions, it takes an 18 wheeler traveling at 65 MPH about 600 feet to come to a full stop. That is the length of two football fields so the driver needs to be prepared when they need to slow down or stop. But in an emergency situation, they may not have that luxury, which is why truck drivers should be careful about the speed at which they are traveling and the distance between them and the vehicle ahead.
How You Can Reduce Rear-End Truck Accidents
Even though a rear-ender is usually the fault of the person who ran into the vehicle ahead of them, there are still steps that you can take to reduce the likelihood of that happening when a truck is behind you. If such an accident happens, the truck driver will be at fault but, naturally, that is something you want to avoid as much as possible as it could lead to severe injury, death, or a completely totaled vehicle.
When driving you should always remain cognizant of the speed at which you are moving and the distance between you and the truck behind you. There is no complicated mathematics involved, you just need to know that the faster you are going and the closer the truck is to you, the more likely that it will crash into you if you have to brake suddenly. You can also simply let the truck pass you if you are worried that it is too close since it cannot run into you if it is ahead of you.
How Truck Drivers Can Reduce Rear-End Truck Accidents
Of course, it is mainly up to the truck drivers to do all they can to avoid rear-end accidents since they are the ones in control of the vehicle. The most obvious thing they can do is to maintain an awareness of the distance between their truck and any vehicles ahead of them. The drivers need to slow down as they get closer to any vehicles in front of them just in case they need to suddenly hit the brakes. They also need to be aware of the weather conditions and how it affects the road since stopping distances will be far greater in slippery conditions.
One of the other major problems truck drivers face is driving while fatigued. Many of them are on the road for hours at a time without pause, so naturally they get tired, their concentration starts to waver, and they may even drift in and out of consciousness. That is bad for many reasons, but one reason is that the driver’s reaction times may be delayed. That means the driver may not be able to hit the brakes on time when they need to, which increases the stopping distance even further.
How Trucking Companies Can Help To Reduce Rear-End Accidents
While the onus of driving safely lies mainly with the truck drivers, there are measures the trucking company that employs them can take to reduce the risk of rear-end collisions—and other kinds of accidents—from occurring. Proper maintenance of their fleet is the main one; even though truck drivers are required to carry out thorough inspections of their vehicles before and after they make a trip, there is only so much that they can do with the limited amount of time that they have. It is up to the trucking company to conduct detailed inspections and maintenance of their vehicles on a regular basis.
They must pay particular attention to the parts that affect the stopping power of the truck, like the brakes and tires, and make sure that they are in top condition at all times for the safety of the drivers and everyone else on the road. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA) has rules that prevent drivers from working too long without a break, but it is up to the trucking company to enforce those rules to keep their drivers from operating their vehicle while fatigued, which endangers everyone on the road with them.
Contact a Lawyer If You Have Been In a Truck Accident
If you have been in a truck accident for any reason, then you should get in touch with a truck accident attorney to get the help that you need. That is because you will likely be going up against a trucking company with a vast array of resources at their disposal, instead of a single person, like you would in a regular car accident. A personal injury attorney can even the playing field so that you do not have to face the company’s lawyers on your own.
There is also a good chance that you will need more compensation than you would in a regular car accident as well because a truck is capable of causing far more damage to you and your vehicle. So make sure to contact an experienced truck accident attorney before filing your personal injury claim.