Whenever you’re driving a semitruck, it is important to think about how the truck differs from a passenger vehicle and what that can mean for you.
One of the biggest differences, of course, is weight. Your standard car likely runs between 3,000 pounds and 4,000 pounds. Some SUVs and pickup trucks weigh a bit more.
While two tons may sound like a lot, a semi weighs far more. The maximum weight allowed by law is 80,000 pounds. It does vary depending on fuel and the weight of the load itself, but it’s significantly more than a car.
One way that this impacts driving is in terms of stopping distances. If you drove at 65 miles per hour in your car and then hit the brakes, you would need over 300 feet to stop. Your car would cover an entire football field.
If a truck driver tried to stop from 65 mph, though, a truck that weighed in at 80,000 pounds would need more like 525 feet before it came to a stop. That’s almost twice as far as your car. Even with many wheels providing braking power, a heavy truck just cannot stop quickly.
In some cases, this leads to rear-end accidents when truck drivers do not leave enough space between the truck and the next car or when they do not hit the brakes in time. You may stop quickly and then get hit from behind by an out-of-control semi.
An accident like this is difficult to avoid and can lead to serious injuries, so you need to know what legal options you have.