You're driving along a Texas interstate with a semi-truck in the lane behind you. After a while, you realize that the truck feels far too close to your back bumper. It makes you a bit nervous. Are you just overreacting because the semi towers over your passenger car, or is there a real danger here?
There could be a serious risk. If something unexpected happens, your car is going to slow down and stop a lot faster than that semi. This could lead to a rear-end accident.
Typically, it takes a truck at least two football fields (200 yards) to stop. It could take even farther. Trucks can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds, and that's an incredible amount of weight when it collides with your 4,000-pound car.
A few things that can increase the distance even more include:
- The size of the load the truck is carrying
- The weather conditions
- The road conditions
- The driver's reaction time
Speed plays a huge role in accidents like this because the main three factors that influence a vehicle's stopping distance are perception distance, reaction distance and braking distance. The space needed for a truck to stop often focuses on braking distance, but things like weather conditions and excess speed can reduce the driver's perception distance and reaction time. Even when the brakes work perfectly, that can still lead to an accident simply because the driver does not apply those brakes fast enough.
If you do get hit by a truck, you may experience significant injuries. You must know what legal options you have to seek out financial compensation for your medical bills.