It’s common for an individual in California to feel anxiety when boxed in by semi-trucks on the highway or interstate. After all, these vehicles dwarf most other vehicles, meaning that a truck accident can cause significant damage and leave motorists with serious injuries. In the worst cases, a motor vehicle accident involving a semi-truck accident will be fatal. This is why federal regulators work to ensure that truckers are properly trained and rested prior to driving, and that truck companies work hard to ensure their fleets are well-maintained. Neglecting any aspect of truck driving or truck maintenance can significantly increase the risk of an accident.
One reason behind some truck accidents is that semi-trucks require a longer distance to safely come to a stop. An average passenger car can be up to 18 feet long and weight as much as 4,000 pounds, but a semi-truck can be up to 65 feet long and weigh 80,000 pounds. So, a car traveling at 40 miles per hour will require about 125 feet to safely come to a stop. A semi-truck, on the other hand, requires about 170 feet when traveling at the same rate of speed. When speeds are increased, so, too, are the stopping distances needed. At 65 miles per hour, a car requires 316 feet to safely stop, whereas a semi-truck needs 525 feet. That difference is nearly the length of a football field.
Negligence in driving or maintaining a truck can increase these distances, too. A trucker who is tired or intoxicated can have a slowed reaction time, which will increase the distance needed to stop. A truck with worn tires will likewise need additional distance. These errors can lead to devastating collisions.
Being injured in a truck accident is no small thing. It can leave a victim with serious injuries and, in some instances, permanent disability. The physical, emotional and financial toll thrust upon victims can be overwhelming, which is why they should determine whether they can pursue the compensation they need to offset the damages that have been unfairly put upon them.