Semitrucks do not drive like passenger vehicles. They have larger blind spots. They make wide turns. They do not accelerate as quickly. They need more space to merge. There is a reason that commercial drivers need a special license to drive. This is no easy task.
One major difference is that a heavy truck can take far more distance to come to a complete stop than a passenger car. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) says that they need about 200 yards to stop. That’s the length of a pair of football fields set end to end or about 600 feet. The FMCSA pins that distance on trucks that are traveling at 65 miles per hour.
With winter approaching and fall already here, the FMCSA also notes that the road conditions can increase the stopping distances to be even greater than 200 yards. Ice, snow and rain all make the pavement slick.
This is important to note because semi drivers may make a mistake and neglect to hit the brakes soon enough when coming to a red light or the back of a traffic jam. There are few things as frightening for a driver as looking in the mirrors and seeing a truck barreling down toward the back of the car, clearly unable to stop in time to avoid a collision. These accidents can take lives and lead to serious injuries, and there’s not much that driver in the passenger car can do to prevent it.
Those who get injured or who lose family members need to make sure they fully understand their legal rights.