Due to their large size and weight, commercial trucks gain more momentum than other vehicles on the road and are more difficult to bring to a halt— especially when needing to do so quickly or in a short distance. Failure to adjust how one drives to account for additional stopping distance is one of the most common causes of commercial trucking accidents and other factors can further affect the ability of a truck driver to slow down or stop in time to avoid a collision. When proper precautions are not taken to avoid an accident or the direct actions of a driver cause the incident, the driver and his or her employer may be held liable for any damage or injuries that result.
What Determines and Alters Truck Stopping Distance
Momentum is calculated primarily by the force that an object has acquired by being in motion and the force that would be required to bring the object to a halt. Weight and center of gravity impact the amount of time and force that are required to stop a vehicle and the massive loads that trucks transport are the reason that they are more difficult to bring to a halt. In fact, it takes a truck almost twice as much time and distance to come to a complete stop than it would take other vehicles on the road. Other factors that impact stopping distance include the following.
- Adverse Weather— Rain, snow and sleet make the roads more perilous for anyone frequenting them but make it especially difficult for trucks to operate safely. Wet or slick roads increase the chances that the driver will lose control of the truck and significantly increase the distance required to slow down or stop.
- Speeding— Speed directly impacts overall stopping distance and when carrying more weight, the distance required to come to a halt is increased astronomically with increased speed. Drivers who violate speed limits are also placing others’ lives at risks by impairing their own ability to stop in time to avoid a collision.
- Distracted Driver— Drivers in general are becoming more distracted while on the road these days and truck drivers are no exception. Roughly one third of our mental capacity becomes dedicated to a cell phone or text conversation, which means we react that much slower to conditions on the road while talking or texting. Truck drivers simply cannot afford to become distracted when every split second of reaction time matters.
- Mechanical Failure or Defect— Commercial trucks log billions of miles each year and must be maintained properly and undergo routine safety inspections. Unfortunately, truck companies often cut corners in order to save money or the drivers themselves do not take the time to perform their own checks. Discovering that your brakes are not working properly or that your tires are over worn during an accident is too late when the incident could have been avoided altogether had routine inspections or maintenance been performed.
- Driver Fatigue— More and more, drivers and other commercial workers are being required to do more on less sleep and it is taking its toll on productivity and safety. Studies have shown that a fatigued driver has the reaction time of an intoxicated driver and may even make the same poor decisions as one under the influence.
- Drugs and Alcohol— Just as in the case of driver fatigue, drugs and alcohol impact the ability of a driver to react quickly, dramatically increasing his or her stopping distance.
You are guaranteed specific rights as the victim of a truck accident and may be entitled to compensation not only for the reimbursement of your medical bills but for your pain and suffering and any income lost due to time off of work. To learn more about your legal options and how the Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers can help you through the process of recovering the compensation you are entitled to, contact us today to schedule a free consultation. We will first evaluate the details of your case and then perform our own investigation using our access to accident reconstruction specialists, medical experts and economists to accurately determine the value of your case so that your physical recovery does not have to be at the expense of your financial health.
If we are unable to recover compensation on your behalf, our services will be free of charge.