Most motorists have heard that speed can kill. This is far more meaningful for truckers though. It takes them much longer to respond to different stimuli including changes in landscape, traffic and weather. It’s no wonder that speeding is the leading cause of fatal crashes.
Three primary factors affect how quickly a trucker can bring their tractor-trailer to a stop. These include perception, reaction and braking distance. These are collectively referred to as the total stopping distance.
The perception distance is how far a vehicle can travel from the time a motorist visualizes the hazard until that image is processed by their brain. The average motorist has a 1.75-second perception time. This means that they can travel approximately 142 feet from the time that they recognize an object until their brain registers it if they’re driving at a speed of 55 mph.
A braking distance is how long it takes a vehicle to travel after the driver applies their brakes. It can take a motorist up to 216 feet to come to a full stop if they’re traveling at 55 mph.
The reaction distance is how long a motorist will travel before they apply their brakes after seeing a hazard in their path ahead. It takes most motorists between .75 seconds and one second to activate their braking system after seeing a hazardous situation ahead. Most motorists travel at least 61 feet before they see a hazard.
A motorist’s total stopping distance is a combination of the above-mentioned factors as they all impact how far a car will travel before coming to a complete stop. Any driver that is operating their vehicle at 55 mph is likely to travel 419 feet before stopping fully.
Trucking Truth’s data shows that motorists who double their speed require as much as four times the distance to stop their vehicles. The impact of the crash tends to be significantly more forceful in such instances as well.
The sheer size of the tractor-trailer and the weight of the cargo inside makes it particularly dangerous for the motorists who share the roads with truckers, especially if they’re doing so in less than ideal weather, traffic or other situations. An attorney here in Alhambra can advise you of your right to recover damages under California law if you’ve been seriously hurt in a crash due to a trucker’s negligence.