Semi-trucks play an important role in our society. By moving goods across the country, these big rigs, their drivers and companies for which they work expand our economy and allow consumer access to goods they may otherwise not be able to obtain. Yet, for all the benefits provided by the trucking industry, it can also prove extremely dangerous for motorists. Due to their sheer size, trucks can cause serious accidents that can leave others severely injured or even dead.

For this reason, semi-trucks need to be driven with care. Truckers should be aware that their rigs take a significantly longer amount of time and a greater distance to come to a stop compared to a car. One reason for this, and one reason that truck accidents are so devastating, is because of semi-trucks’ size. While a car may be up to 18 feet in length and weigh up to 4,000 pounds, an 18-wheeler can be 65 feet in length and weigh up to 80,000 pounds.

This greatly affects a truck’s ability to stop. For example, when traveling at 65 miles per hour, a semi-truck will need 525 feet to come to a stop. A car traveling at the same rate of speed will only need 316 feet. That additional 209 feet is about two-thirds the length of a football field. This stopping distance can also be lengthened depending on the condition of a truck’s brakes, the trucker’s attentiveness and reaction time.

Tragically, far too many Louisianans are injured or killed in truck accidents. In addition to the physical and emotional pain and suffering they and their families may face, they can also come face-to-face with financial hardship in the form of medical expenses, lost wages and, in the event of wrongful death, funeral expenses. To help determine if a trucker’s negligence caused the injurious or fatal accident at hand, victims and their families may want to speak with a personal injury or wrongful death attorney.

Source: UDOT, “Trucks Need More Time to Stop,” accessed on April 20, 2016