truck driving next to car

Semi-trucks are powerful machines that can weigh up to 80,000 pounds spread across five axles. As a result, they need complex braking systems to bring the vehicle and trailer to a safe stop. But just how far is the stopping distance of the average semi-truck? And what is the stopping distance for a semi hauling a fully loaded trailer?

At Jebaily Law Firm, our experienced injury lawyers have extensive experience handling truck accident cases. In the more than 50 years we’ve been serving South Carolina communities, we’ve learned that experience, determination, and results are what matter.

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Stopping Distances for Large Trucks

Large trucks take a significant amount of time and space to stop. When it comes to truck stopping distance vs. car stopping distance, it’s not even close. A car might need a few hundred feet to stop when traveling at highway speeds. But trucks take much longer.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the stopping distance for a fully loaded tractor-trailer traveling on a good road at 65 miles per hour would be almost the length of two football fields. That truck would travel more than a tenth of a mile before it came to a complete stop, putting anything in its path at serious risk.

About Truck Braking Systems

Commercial trucks use complex systems known as air brakes. Unlike the hydraulic disc or drum brakes employed on normal passenger cars, these systems use compressed air to bring vehicles to a halt. But while these air brake systems are extremely efficient, they can fail, leading to a loss of control or a failure to stop.

Air brakes have some other disadvantages as well. One of the most important is the presence of brake lag in air braking systems. Brake lag refers to the delay between when the driver activates the brakes and the application of braking force. That delay could be as long as half a second, meaning that even the best-designed trucks can’t stop on a dime.

How Long Stopping Distances Contribute to Semi-Truck Accidents

The heavier a truck is and the faster it’s traveling, the longer it needs to stop. That means that a truck driver has to react quicker than a passenger vehicle driver in the same situation. The more room there is for error, the more opportunities there are for something to go wrong. That could mean a more serious accident for you.

Who Is Liable for a Truck Accident?

After a truck accident, many people could share liability. These could include:

  • The truck driver
  • Trucking companies
  • Cargo loaders
  • Truck manufacturers
  • Part manufacturers
  • Truck and trailer owners
  • Repair shops

How to Drive Safely Around Trucks on SC Roads

Every road situation is unique, but there are some general ways to increase your safety around trucks. If you’re near a truck on the road, these tips could help you stay safe:

  • Avoid lingering in the truck’s blind spots.
  • Leave enough room for the truck to brake.
  • Be patient.
  • Stay aware of the truck’s wide turning radius.
  • Don’t cut off trucks.

Contact Our Experienced South Carolina Truck Accident Lawyers Today

If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, contact Jebaily Law Firm now. With a commitment to the people of South Carolina and results that speak for themselves, our experienced team is ready to help however we can.

Contact us today for a free consultation.

Jebaily Law Firm

Jebaily Law Firm, is one of South Carolina’s long-established and well-respected legal practices. Located in Florence, S.C., we are trial lawyers focused on plaintiff litigation in personal injury, workers’ compensation, social security disability, and criminal defense. Established in 1969, we have more than 100 years of combined legal experience in protecting the rights of clients and advocating for the safety and well-being of South Carolina citizens.