Although a rear-end accident involving another passenger vehicle can cause a significant amount of damage and result in serious injuries, the likelihood of severe harm is significantly increased when the rear-ending vehicle is a semi-truck.
Yet, far too often these big rigs fail to safely slow down or stop before causing a rear-end accident, and innocent motorists are left to suffer from physical and emotional pain as well as financial losses.
One reason semi-trucks are susceptible to causing rear-end accidents is that they require a greater distance in order to come to a stop. A passenger vehicle that is up to 18 feet in length and weighs up to 4,000 pounds will need 316 feet to stop when traveling 65 miles per hour. A semi-truck, on the other hand, may be 53 feet in length and weigh up to 80,000 pounds, which requires it to have 525 feet to come to a safe stop when traveling 65 miles per hour. This discrepancy in stopping distances is significant. In fact, it can mean the difference between life and death.
There are other factors that can contribute to a truck’s stopping distance. Reaction time can be key. A distracted or intoxicated trucker may take several more seconds to start applying the brakes compared to a rested and sober driver. Also, each individual trucker’s perception time, that is the time needed to actually recognize a hazard such as slowed or stopped traffic, varies and can be affected by inattentiveness.
A truck accident of any kind can leave a motorist with serious injuries. The damages that stem from such an accident can be extensive and wide reaching. Medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering can all wreak havoc on a victim’s life. This is unacceptable when the accident in question was caused by the negligence of another. That is why in these circumstances victims should consider whether taking legal action via personal injury lawsuit is justified.