When you look in your rearview mirror and you see that there is a semi-truck behind you, it can be somewhat unnerving. These vehicles are much taller than passenger cars, so they seem to tower over your vehicle, and they can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. You have probably never felt as small in your car – even if it is a very standard-sized vehicle – as when you’re driving around a semi.
One thing that people are often worried about in this scenario is that the semi-truck will rear-end them at the next light or stop sign. They may be especially nervous on the interstate, if they’re worried about coming to an unexpected traffic jam or a road construction zone.
But it can be difficult to determine if the truck behind you is maintaining a proper following distance. How long do they actually need to stop?
Almost twice as far as a passenger vehicle
There are factors that influence stopping distances in every case, such as the condition of the brakes or the road conditions themselves. But, as a general rule, it is assumed that a passenger car needs roughly 300 feet to come to a stop, while a semi-truck needs around 525 feet. This is almost twice the distance, so it may appear to you that the truck is far enough back, even though it is already so close that it won’t be able to stop before it hits your vehicle.
This is also why driver distraction is such a problem for truck drivers. If someone is distracted for even a moment, that could be enough that they no longer have space to react in time. Those who have suffered serious injuries in these accidents need to make sure they know how to seek financial compensation.