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Why Truck Drivers Must Allow Greater Cushions of Safety

Truck drivers must think about safety.



Travel down any interstate or highway in the state of Texas, and you will find a large number of tractor-trailers. These big rigs generally weigh over 50,000 pounds and have sophisticated air brake systems for both the tractor and the trailer. Nevertheless, an 18–wheeler takes longer to stop than a passenger car or pickup truck.



18 wheeler braking


As a general rule of thumb, a big truck takes approximately 1/3 longer to come to a complete stop then a car. That is assuming that the trucks brake system is a proper operating condition and has been adequately maintained.


Additionally, a big truck is usually at least 65 feet long with the combined tractor and trailer length and can be much longer with larger trailers. At speeds of 65 mi./h, a big truck can take up to 525 feet to stop, whereas a passenger car would only take 316 feet. These total stopping distances include reaction time and braking distance.


Brake Lag in Big Rigs


Professional truck drivers must factor in brake lag distance when allowing a safe cushion between themselves and other traffic. Break lag is defined as the time it takes for the break signal to make it to all the wheels of the big rig. This is roughly 3 /4th of a second. Break lag distances to find the number of feet that the truck travels before the brakes actually engage. The braking distance issue in big rigs leads to many rear-end truck accidents.


When adding the size of the truck with the brake lag distance, professional drivers have to ensure a greater safety cushion in order to avoid an unnecessary accident than would be expected from an average driver.

Read More:What You Need to Know About an 18-Wheeler Stopping Distance

Truck Driver Training


Trucking companies, or motor carriers as they are called, must ensure that the drivers they put on the roadway have been adequately trained to be safe drivers. Not only must the trucking company frequently check the driving record of the drivers behind the wheel of their trucks, but they must also ensure that the drivers are properly trained in safe techniques.


Allowing a safety cushion or an assured clear distance between the truck and the other road traffic is a key part of adequate truck driver training.


If you or a loved one has been injured in a semi-truck accident in Houston, TX, and would like to speak with a tractor-trailer accident attorney, call us for a free, no-obligation consultation.

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Related Resources:

Truckers failing to maintain a safe following distance

Braking distance of semi trucks

Stopping Distance is a Major Factor in Big Rig Rear-End Collisions

Bad brakes on semi trucks

About Greg Baumgartner

Truck accident lawyer Greg Baumgartner
Greg Baumgartner is a preeminent rated personal injury lawyer based in Houston, Texas, with over three decades of experience representing severely injured clients in truck accidents. He founded Baumgartner Law Firm, in 1985, with a mission to provide excellent legal representation and personalized attention to every client.