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What is the stopping distance for a commercial truck?

On Behalf of | Sep 21, 2023 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

Large trucks and semitrailers play a significant role in the American economy. These vehicles are responsible for the transportation of goods across the country, and without them, many businesses in many different industries would be unable to function. While critical, these vehicles are larger and heavier than other types of vehicles, and they can cause significant damage in the event of an accident.  

Accidents with commercial trucks can cause significant damage for smaller vehicles and serious injuries to the occupants of the smaller vehicles. One of the most critical factors in these types of events is stopping distance. Because of their size and weight, these vehicles take longer to come to a complete stop. There are many different factors that can impact stopping distance, and truck drivers are responsible for understanding these factors and their potential impact. 

Coming to a complete stop 

Many traffic accidents are the result of actions such as following too closely, speeding and reckless driving. All of these things can affect stopping distance, adding to the amount of time that a large, fully loaded semitrailer will need to come to a complete stop. The most common things that can affect the distance required by a commercial truck, semitrailer or large truck to properly brake include driver awareness and truck load. Other factors that affect stopping distance include: 

  • Weather 
  • Grade of the road 
  • Brake maintenance 
  • Condition of the tires 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration developed a stopping distance chart that all trucks must be able to adhere to. This means that all large trucks must be able to undergo tests and prove that their vehicles can meet the braking distance requirements when fully loaded. For example, the NHTSA requires semitrailers to be able to come to a complete stop in 250 feet. 

Did stopping distance factor into your accident? 

If you are suffering after a truck accident, your circumstances may be the result of factors that are beyond your control. Braking distance, speed, negligence and other actions by the truck driver or Louisiana trucking company may have contributed to your pain and suffering. You could have grounds to pursue compensation through a civil claim, but these cases are time-sensitive. You will benefit from taking immediate action to discover your legal options as soon as possible after a truck accident.