Even more so than the drivers of passenger cars, truck drivers absolutely must leave themselves plenty of time to stop their vehicles and do so safely. If they do not meet this important responsibility, they can cause serious rear-end car accidents. Moreover, because trucks weigh so much, rear-end accidents that might have been a minor fender-bender if it involved a car can turn fatal.
To go over some numbers, even traveling at a “normal” highway speed of 65 miles per hour, a fully loaded truck is going to require over 450 feet to stop, which is the length of one football field plus half the length of another.
This 450 feet accounts only for the time between the driver actually starts the braking process and comes to a stop; it does not include the time it takes for the driver to perceive a hazard and decide to make a sudden stop.
While slowing down and keeping a safe following distance are also helpful, there is only so much a driver can do about how long it takes for a truck’s air brakes to kick in and gradually bring the truck to a stop. However, there is plenty a driver can do about making sure that, if a stop is needed, he or she can start the process right away.
For instance, a driver can make sure that he or she is well-rested and, of course, is free of the influence of any alcohol or drugs, and this would include legal medication like allergy medication or a prescription. The driver should also make sure he or she is driving distraction free.
Whether due to a cell phone or otherwise, even the smallest diversion can mean a driver loses those critical split seconds to make a complete stop.
One could rightly call driving attentively a core responsibility of anyone who operates a large truck. When truckers fail in this responsibility, San Diego, California, residents will often get hurt. Although these victims can and should seek compensation for their losses, no amount of money can undo what rightly can be called a preventable accident.