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Semi-trucks and the distance needed to stop


It has happened to most of us. We are on the Interstate and get wedged between two semi-trucks. This can be frightening, as it becomes apparent just how helpless our cars and SUVs would be when struck by a massive 18-wheeler. While this is certainly true, and many Illinois residents find themselves seriously harmed in these wrecks, it is not only the semi-trucks in front of and beside us that we have to worry about. In fact, the big rigs behind us can be just as dangerous, if not more so, than those we can see in front of us.

This is because semi-trucks need significantly more time and distance to come to a stop than cars. An average car is between 12 and 18 feet in length and weighs in at 3,000 to 4,000 pounds. Traveling at a speed of 55 miles per hour, such a vehicle can come to a stop in 225 feet. A tractor trailer, on the other hand, can be up to 65 feet in length and weigh 80,000 pounds. Traveling at the same speed a big rig would need 335 feet to come to a stop. This is about an extra one-third of a football field.

These distances can be lengthened significantly if a trucker is inattentive, fatigued, or intoxicated, or if the truck is improperly maintained. Therefore, if a trucker is following too closely and the driver in front of him or her has to slam on the brakes for some reason, then the outcome can be disastrous.

Those who sustain serious injuries in a truck accident may want to consider taking legal action. By filing a lawsuit against a speeding, drunk, sleepy, or otherwise negligent trucker, a victim may be able to recover the compensation he or she needs to obtain financial stability and focus on his or her recovery.

Source: UDOT, "Trucks Need More Time to Stop," accessed on Oct. 10, 2015

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