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Limited Braking Ability of Trucks

Limited Braking Ability of Trucks

Many drivers understand the risks of sharing the road with large trucks and how the size of commercial vehicles can make any collision result in serious injuries or even death. However, many drivers are still unaware of the space and time trucks need to come to a complete stop. It’s important to know about the limited braking ability of commercial trucks and what you can do to avoid an accident with one.

What is a Braking Distance?

Due to their large size and heavy weight, trucks have a much longer braking distance compared to passenger vehicles. A braking distance is the distance a vehicle travels from when the brake is pressed until the vehicle stops. Three factors make up a vehicle’s braking distance:

  1. Perception Distance: This is the distance a vehicle travels from the time the driver sees a hazard to when their brain recognizes it.
  2. Reaction Time: This is the time it takes for a driver to execute a maneuver once the hazard is recognized. The distance that the vehicle travels while the reaction is made is called the reaction distance.
  3. Braking Distance: This is the distance a vehicle travels from the time a driver hits the brake pedal to when the vehicle comes to a complete stop.

Additionally, the speed at which the vehicle travels, weather conditions, and the friction between the tires and the road also play an important role in determining the braking distance. Generally, a passenger vehicle traveling at 65 miles per hour would need roughly 300 feet to stop. In comparison, a loaded semi-truck weighing 80,000 pounds would likely need 525 feet to stop.

What to Know about Truck Braking Systems

On top of these factors, most trucks have a different brake system from passenger vehicles. Many passenger vehicles use hydraulic brakes for faster, instantaneous braking. Semi-trucks use air brakes and a combination of pumps, storage tanks, and valves to enable the pressurized system. When a trucker hits the brakes, air pressure is released, and the breaks are then released. Ultimately, air brakes take longer to be engaged, creating a longer braking distance for trucks.

What You Can do to Avoid an Accident with a Semi-Truck

Understanding a truck’s braking distance can help you safely share the road and avoid accidents with large commercial vehicles. You can also take further precautions to avoid an accident with a truck by practicing the following:

  • Be aware of the limited braking ability of trucks. Provide trucks with enough stopping distance and to avoid cutting trucks off in traffic to help prevent a crash.
  • Share the roads with trucks and keep your distance. Give them the room they need to maneuver and stop if needed. Tailgating, failing to yield, and other behaviors make it harder for trucks to stop in time and adjust their speeds.
  • Know the No-Zones. Semi-trucks have multiple large blind spots that can cause surrounding cars and vehicles to be “invisible’ from the truck driver’s point of view. Staying out of the No-Zones is vital when sharing the roads with trucks.

Contact a Truck Accident Attorney Today

Sharing the roads with commercial vehicles can be overwhelming and unpredictable. Understanding how a truck’s limited braking ability and braking distance is vital to avoiding an accident with a semi-truck. If you or someone you know has been injured in a trucking accident, the team at Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, can review your case and help you pursue the compensation you deserve. Contact our attorneys for a free case consultation today.

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Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law

Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law
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