Why Stopping Distance Plays a Big Role in Big Rig Rear-End Collisions

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), approximately 20 percent of all truck accidents involve rear-end collisions. The DOT estimates that about 23,000 people are injured, and 700 people are killed each year due to rear-end truck crashes. Specifically, we’re talking about situations where the truck rear-ends another vehicle, not the other way around.

The massive weight of a big rig means rear-end collisions are extremely dangerous and potentially lethal for the occupants of the other vehicle. When a 75,000-pound 18-wheeler strikes a 4,000 SUV, the SUV doesn’t stand much of a chance. 

In this blog post, we’ll briefly discuss the stopping distances of big rigs and explain what you can do to minimize your risk as the driver of an average automobile.

How Long Does a Truck Take to Stop?

According to the FMCSA, a semi-truck traveling at 65 miles per hour will take up to two football fields to stop. A football field, minus the two end zones, is 300 feet long, meaning an 18-wheeler may need around 600 feet to stop from 65 miles per hour. Conditions like rain, snow and ice can make the stopping distance even longer.

For comparison, the average sedan or SUV weighing 3000 to 5,000 pounds needs around 320 feet to stop from 65 miles per hour. For the mathematically challenged among us, that means a semi needs almost twice as much room to stop as the normal cars we all drive.

It’s easy to see why rear-end collisions involving big rigs are all too frequent.

What Can You Do to Minimize Your Risk?

When you’re driving on Texas roads, you can do a few simple things to reduce the chances that you’ll be involved in a rear-end collision with a big rig, or any other type of truck accident for that matter.

  • Never suddenly cut in front of a truck. It reduces the space available for the truck to stop if needed.
  • Stay a safe distance ahead of trucks. Allow them to pass you if necessary.
  • On multi-lane highways, consider changing lanes if a truck is following you too closely.
  • Make sure your brake lights and taillights are all in good working order so truck drivers can see you and gauge their distance.

Of course, the driver of the heavy trucks should take precautions as well. There are many state and federal laws governing truck drivers, and they can be held liable for injuries resulting from violations of those laws.

If You’ve Been Hurt in a Rear-End Big Rig Accident, Talk to an Attorney

You can get a free, confidential consultation with one of our Dallas truck accident lawyers any time. We’ll evaluate the situation and tell you about all your legal options. Call us at 877-Ted-Lyon / 877-833-5966 or contact us online.