It is not uncommon for drivers to “tailgate” or fail to leave adequate space between their vehicle and the vehicle in front of them. This situation gets worse – and even more dangerous – when the tailgater is the driver of an 18-wheeler.
When truck drivers follow too closely, they put themselves and others at risk of a severe injury or even a fatal accident. That’s because heavy trucks need more distance to stop than a lighter passenger car.
How Tailgating Causes Truck Accidents
Tailgating is a common cause of truck accidents. When truckers fail to leave enough space between their truck and the car in front of them, they may not be able to stop in time to avoid a rear-end collision if traffic stops suddenly.
Road conditions can also make tailgating more dangerous and deadly. Wet, icy, or foggy conditions can make stopping a massive vehicle like an 18-wheeler even more difficult. In these conditions, truckers must leave even more distance between behind other vehicles to prevent a rear-end collision.
Trucks Have Longer Stopping Distances Than Cars
Due to a semi-truck’s size and weight, trucks require a longer stopping distance than cars, pickups, SUVs and other passenger vehicles. According to the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), in ideal conditions (e.g., dry roads, clear visibility, good tires, properly-adjusted brakes, etc.), it will take a truck traveling at 55 mph approximately 419 feet to make a full stop.
Per the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, trucks should leave at least one second between the truck and the leading car for every 10 feet of vehicle length. In other words, if the truck is 50 feet long, the driver should leave a 5-second gap behind the vehicle ahead.
If the truck is traveling at 40 mph or faster, an additional second should be added to the calculation. In bad weather, the total should be doubled to accommodate any issues with the roadway that may be present – wet, snowy or icy roads leading to less traction, fog causing limited visibility, etc.
These seconds, while small, can prevent serious accidents. When truckers fail to leave enough following distance, they may be unable to stop in time to avoid a potentially deadly collision.
Truck Accident Injuries
Injuries from rear-end collisions with a truck can be severe and life-changing – and the occupants of the other vehicle usually fare worse. They often sustain neck and back injuries in these collisions, as well as broken bones, lacerations, whiplash, and traumatic brain injuries. Burns are also common due to post-collision, fuel-induced vehicle fires.
Although this is not an exhaustive list of injuries, it demonstrates the degree of harm posed by the risk of a rear-end collision with a semi-truck – and all because the trucker followed your vehicle too closely.
In addition to painful injuries that require medical treatment, a rear-end collision can cause extensive property damage. Your vehicle will likely be declared a total loss due to the extent of damage caused by the larger vehicle, leaving you without a way to get to work, school, or other obligations. You may be unable to pay for repairs to or replacement of the vehicle, and your very livelihood may be at stake because of the trucker’s carelessness.
That’s why it is so important to contact a knowledgeable truck accident lawyer as soon as you can after a crash with a commercial vehicle. You might be owed compensation for what happened to you.
Contact the Sloan Firm Today
What matters to you, matters to us. If you are hurt in a crash with an 18-wheeler, contact the Sloan Law Firm today by phone or online.
Our experienced Longview truck accident attorneys are personally committed to your case and your future. We have successfully handled truck wreck cases all over East Texas and the nation. Our personal injury lawyers work hard to right the wrongs that have been done to you. We are here to take care of you in your time of need. Don’t wait to get the help you need. Contact us today.