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How a truck’s braking capability affects crashes with passenger vehicles

On Behalf of | Sep 2, 2020 | Personal Injury |

Being involved in a crash with a commercial truck can be devastating for obvious reasons. Commercial trucks are significantly larger and heavier than passenger vehicles, which means that they can cause significantly more damage in a crash.

Knowing this, it may not surprise you to learn that the occupants of passenger vehicles are much more likely to be severely wounded or killed in this type of crash than a truck driver is. However, there are some ways you may be able to minimize your risks when sharing the road.

How much space does a truck need to stop?

Many drivers don’t realize that commercial trucks have different operating limitations than passenger vehicles have. One of those limitations is the vehicle’s braking capability, which is a common factor in many trucking crashes.

A fully loaded truck traveling at 65 miles per hour may need up to two football fields of roadway to come to a complete stop. It may need even more distance in poor weather conditions.

How can you improve safety?

You can avoid some potential crashes by not cutting in front of commercial trucks. When planning to merge in front of one, it may be best to wait until the entire truck appears in your rearview mirror before changing lanes.

There should be at least four car lengths between the back of your vehicle and the front of the truck. This can help make sure a truck has a reasonable chance of avoiding a collision if you need to slam on your brakes. However, it also helps ensure your car stays out of the truck’s front blind spot.

What are other reasons for this type of crash?

Many trucking accidents are not the fault of the passenger vehicle’s driver. Sometimes a trucker may speed, may follow a car too closely or may be inattentive due to distractions or lack of sleep.

Other potential causes, include:

  • The truck’s cargo weighing more than what regulations allow
  • The brakes or other crash avoidance technology failing because of product defects, improper installation or delayed maintenance
  • The truck driver lacking proper training

While it can be prudent for you to practice safe habits when sharing the road with commercial trucks, those who work in the trucking industry must also practice safe habits. The injuries from a trucking crash can be life-altering. Those who experience this devastating type of crash may benefit from exploring their options. In many cases, an injury victim can have options to hold the reckless party responsible.