Large trucks are a staple of the economy. They help move goods and supplies that keep our country running. As such, there is a heavy presence of these vehicles on roads, especially interstates and highways.
Drivers need to understand trucks have different characteristics than passenger vehicles. Knowing how they work can help prevent accidents. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration explains one important point to know about is the stopping distance requirements for a large truck.
Because large trucks weigh more than other vehicles, physics dictates it will take them much longer to come to a stop. While you can slam on the breaks in your car and stop fairly fast, that cannot happen with a truck. They need a much longer time to come to a complete stop, and stopping on a dime is impossible.
A general rule of thumb is a loaded truck will require about 200 yards to come to a complete stop when driving on a highway.
Load, weather and speed all play a factor in how long it takes a truck to stop. A fully loaded truck takes more time to stop than an empty one due to the weight of the vehicle. In addition, if there is adverse weather, such as rain or snow, making roadways slick, that also increases the stopping distance needs.
Speed is also incredibly important to figure in. The faster the truck is going, the longer it will take to stop.
While truck drivers must be aware and alert of conditions and know how long it takes to stop their rigs, other drivers also need to be alert. Cutting off large trucks or stopping suddenly in front of one can cause accidents due to the truck not having enough time to stop.