How Long Does it Take a Truck to Make an Emergency Stop?

Our Washington DC Truck Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King Can Help You After an Accident

Commercial trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds and take longer to slow down than passenger cars. They need more stopping distance, and that requires precious time. A 65-foot-long semi-truck weighing 80,000 pounds going at the same speed will need 525 feet to come to an emergency stop. That is nearly twice the distance of the average passenger vehicle and takes about six seconds. Yet, size and weight are not the only factors that increase a large truck’s stopping distance.

What Is Brake Lag?

Brake lag can also cause a large truck to need more room for an emergency stop. While passenger vehicles typically have hydraulic brakes, tractor-trailers have air brakes.

Semi-trucks have air brakes, with a lag time that slows them down. After the trucker applies the brakes, air needs to build up until the brakes can be effectively applied. Other factors that impact a truck’s emergency stopping distance include slippery roads, poor visibility, brakes and other vehicle components condition, and the trucker’s reaction time. If a driver is inexperienced or distracted, the consequences could be fatal.

What Is a Safe Following Distance for Trucks?

You might be familiar with the three-second following rule for passenger vehicles, and as one would expect, this should be longer for large trucks. The recommended distance is seven to eight seconds, which should be doubled when driving conditions warrant it.

Another guideline applies to large trucks that stop at railroad crossings, stop signs, and red lights. Instead of being close to the vehicles in front of them, they need to be 20 feet behind. Besides preventing truck accidents, they can move around the vehicle in front should it become disabled.

Truck Regulations

It is not unusual for drivers and trucking companies to disregard regulations. For example, Washington, DC has size and weight restrictions for all vehicles within its boundaries. The maximum width is 8 feet (8 feet, 6 inches for large passenger buses), and the maximum height is 13 feet, 6 inches unless the vehicle has an oversized/overweight vehicle permit.

Our Washington DC Truck Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King Can Help You After an Accident

Truck drivers who do not maintain a safe following distance put others at serious risk. If you have been injured in a truck accident, speak with our Washington DC truck accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King. Complete our online form or call 202-331-1963 to schedule a free consultation. Located in Washington, D.C., Alexandria, and Falls Church, Virginia, we serve clients in Prince George’s County, including Laurel, Beltsville, Adelphi, College Park, Greenbelt, Mitchellville, Woodmore, Greater Upper Marlboro, Springdale, Largo, Bowie, Capitol Heights, District Heights, Forestville, Suitland, Seat Pleasant, Clinton, Oxon Hill, Temple Hills, and Fort Washington.