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Auto Accidents / Apr 20,2021

Will braking distances in a heavy vehicle put you at risk?

If you’re driving in rush hour traffic and you have to come to a sudden stop, your sedan or SUV may stop easily. But your next thought may immediately be about the vehicle directly behind you. Your eyes will flash to the rear-view mirror. Will that vehicle be able to stop in time?

There are a lot of factors to consider, such as the following distance that other driver left between your cars, the condition of the road’s surface, the other driver’s attention level and the speed at which all of this happens. One of the biggest things to think about, though, is the weight of that vehicle.

Heavy vehicles need longer to stop

First and foremost, heavy vehicles need more distance to come to a complete stop. Your sedan may stop with plenty of space if you were maintaining a three-second following distance, but your car probably only weighs around 3,000 pounds.

Conversely, a semitruck can legally weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. Many come in at less than that, but even a partially-loaded truck could weigh ten times as much as your car. Similarly, a cement truck that is fully loaded could weigh 66,000 pounds.

Both of these vehicles can take much farther to stop than a normal car. If the driver does not hit the brakes at the right time or does not leave enough of a gap, they could rear-end your vehicle. You can do very little, if anything, to avoid this type of crash. You’re already stopped in traffic with nowhere to go by the time you realize anything is wrong, and the accident takes place very quickly.

These accidents also increase your risks of serious injuries. The weight of these trucks, along with their height, means you’re extremely exposed in your small, light car. Even if you have your seat belt on and all of the safety systems work properly, they can only do so much against that much mass.

What are your options?

Have you been injured in an accident with a truck or a commercial vehicle? You need to know what options you have to seek financial compensation.

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