Factors that determine truckers’ braking distances

| Feb 23, 2021 | Trucking accidents

Many motorists have an inherent fear of riding alongside the big rigs truckers drive, yet few can pinpoint why. The website TruckingTruth posts a  commercial driver’s license training manual that captures how speeding is the primary contributing factor to fatal trucking crashes. They note that speed, coupled with inclement weather, traffic and landscape can affect a trucker’s braking distance, thus making tractor-trailer crashes completely preventable.

Understanding how truck braking works

A total stopping distance, which includes perception, reaction and braking distance, dictates how quickly a trucker is able to come to a full stop.

Perception has to do with the distance a trucker travels between when they initially see a potential hazard until their brain processes what they saw. TruckingTruth’s data captures how most truckers travel on average 142 feet or for 1.75 seconds between when they first identify an object until their brain registers it, provided that they’re moving at 55 mph.

The reaction distance concept refers to the amount of time that passes before a trucker applies their brakes after identifying a hazard in their path. TruckingTruth’s data shows that truckers may travel as far as 61 feet or anywhere from .75 to one second before finally applying their brakes.

A braking distance is the length of distance a truck will travel even after the brakes are applied. It’s 216 feet for most truckers traveling 55 mph.

The combination of the factors mentioned above constitutes a trucker’s total stopping distance. What this means is that any trucker traveling at 55 mph may travel as far as 419 feet before coming to a full stop after identifying a potential hazard.

What makes truck accidents particularly catastrophic?

The faster the speed a trucker travels, the longer it generally takes them to arrive at a full stop. The weight of the load a trucker is carrying and wet or icy roadways can all affect a truck driver’s ability to stop as quickly as they may expect. Inattentiveness, drowsiness and intoxication are additional factors that may cause a trucker to have delayed reaction times.

Texas law allows car accident victims to hold both truckers and their fleet companies accountable for their negligence resulting in a crash. A semi-truck accidents attorney will likely want to know more about what transpired leading up to your crash before advising you of your right to file suit here in Dallas.