A tractor-trailer normally weighs up to 80,000 pounds, about twenty times the weight of the average passenger vehicle. An 18-wheeler will take far longer to stop compared to lighter vehicles, potentially making them much more dangerous. Anderson Injury Lawyers have represented hundreds of people injured by commercial trucks. We know how hazardous they are, especially when they’re unsafely driven by negligent drivers.
A truck hauling an oversize load in Texas could be as heavy as 240,000 pounds, reports Wideloadshipping.com. These massive loads pose serious risks to those of us on the state’s highways and local roads. Stopping these vehicles in time to avoid an accident may be difficult or impossible.
Stopping distances for all vehicles increase as they become heavier, and when road conditions such as snow, ice, or rain make stopping more difficult. A fully loaded, well-maintained tractor-trailer traveling in good road conditions at highway speeds needs a distance of nearly two football fields to stop, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration(FMCSA).
Why Does it Take So Long for an 18-Wheeler to Stop?
The factors involved in stopping time and distances include:
- Driver delay: If the truck driver is distracted, fatigued, impaired, intoxicated, or asleep the driver won’t appreciate the need to stop. The truck continues to move as the driver is in a mental fog.
- Brakes: If they’re worn and poorly maintained, they won’t work as well so it will take longer for the truck to stop
- Tires: Truck tires are not all the same. Some reduce fuel consumption by rolling more easily, but they lack grip if the road is wet, making braking longer. No matter the design, the more they’re worn, the less effective they are at stopping the truck.
- Road surface: The more friction there is between a tire and road, the easier it will be for the truck to stop. If the road is wet or covered in oil spills, gravel, or sand, the braking distance will be longer
- Speed: The faster the truck is traveling, the longer it will take to stop. The slower it’s going, driver alertness and ability to use the brakes are more important. The higher the speed, stopping the truck is more dependent on the tires, brakes, and road surface
- Weight: The more the total weight of the vehicle, the more kinetic energy it will have at a given speed. This increases the braking distance because it’s harder to slow down
Personal injury lawsuits involving 18-wheeler accidents aren’t just about mechanics and physics, they boil down to negligence. The key questions are:
- Did the parties responsible for the truck act reasonably and put a safe vehicle on the road?
- Were serious mistakes made that endangered others, causing the accident and injuries?
How the Anderson Injury Lawyers Help Those Injured in Commercial Truck Accidents
If you or a family member are injured in an accident with an 18-wheeler, our experienced truck accident lawyers will:
- Help you get medical care
- Preserve important evidence
- Make sure you receive fair compensation through an insurance claim settlement or trial verdict
If you retain Anderson Injury Lawyers, you’re hiring a skilled, dedicated team of professionals who will investigate the accident. We will uncover how the accident happened and who should be held accountable.
Commercial truck accidents can be complicated. There may be many parties who played a role in the accident. We use the facts and Texas law to fight the insurance company so you can obtain the compensation you deserve and the medical care you need.