Louisiana readers know that commercial trucks and semitrailers are larger and heavier than regular passenger vehicles, and they know that this size difference is what makes accidents with these types of vehicles particularly dangerous. There are many reasons why truck accidents happen, and one of these is braking distance.
Understandably, it takes larger and heavier vehicles more time to come to a complete stop. Often, trucks collide with passenger vehicles because the trucker did not allow sufficient time to stop, possibly due to distraction, speeding or lack of experience. If braking distance played a role in the accident that left you injured, you could have grounds to pursue compensation through a civil claim.
More time to stop
Semitrailers can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, which is a lot of weight to safely bring to a stop. With passenger vehicles weighting in at approximately 3,000 to 4,000 pounds, they are no match against a large truck when the two collide. Here are some facts about braking distance and why it is an important factor in safe truck driving:
- A regular passenger vehicle traveling at 65 miles per hour needs about 316 feet to come to a complete stop. This is the length of a football field.
- A loaded semitrailer traveling 65 miles per hour would need 525 feet to stop, which is almost the length of two football fields.
- Other factors also impact stopping distance for trucks, such as a trucker's perception of a danger, reaction time to the danger and more.
Less than ideal conditions, such as wet roads, bad weather and poorly maintained brakes, can also affect a truck's ability to come to a complete stop. Semitrailers have air brakes, which means that there can be a slight delay between the moment a trucker's foot presses the brake to the moment the brakes engage, potentially affecting braking distance.
Who is to blame for a truck accident?
While there are many factors that can contribute to the likelihood that a truck accident will happen, truckers bear the responsibility of ensuring that they drive safely. This includes factoring in braking distance and not allowing distractions and other issues to affect attention to detail and awareness of other vehicles.
Victims of truck accidents have the right to seek compensation for their losses. If you believe that you may have a case, there is no time to lose in taking the first steps in building a strong civil claim against the liable parties. Your interests are at stake, but you may be able to recover your losses and other damages related to your truck accident.