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West Virginia semi-trucks and stopping distance

Many West Virginians are well aware of the dangers that can be posed by negligent motorists and the importance of safe driving. However, some may not realize that truck drivers need to be even more careful to ensure they are not posing a threat to others on the road. One of the main reasons for this is the sheer size of these vehicles, which significantly increases the distance and time they need to come to a complete stop.

The average car ranges from 12 to 18 feet in length and weighs between 3,000 and 4,000 pounds. The average semi-truck, on the other hand, can be as long as 65 feet and weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. This difference in size creates a large difference in stopping distance and time. In fact, a car traveling at 55 miles per hour needs 225 feet to come to a stop where a big rig needs approximately 335 feet. This extra 100 plus feet could mean the difference between a close call and a fatal accident. The gap in stopping distances only increases with speed.

Stopping distances may also increase if reaction time is slow or brakes are improperly maintained. Therefore, an inattentive truck driver, or one that is fatigued or intoxicated, may need more than 200 or 300 additional feet to stop compared to a car. That is the length of a football field.

Tragically, truck accident victims have little care for these statistics as they have much bigger issues to be concerned with. They may need substantial medical care to treat their serious injuries, and they may be left with a permanent disability. They might also lose wages from an inability to work and suffer from emotional pain and suffering. In an attempt to recover these losses and find a sense of closure, these victims may want to consider their legal rights and how best to act on them.

Source: UDOT.Utah.gov, "Trucks Need More Time to Stop," accessed on Sept. 11, 2015

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