Any driver in the Austin area should keep her eyes and mind on the road at all times. However, this advice holds especially true for drivers of trucks and other commercial vehicles.
One big reason truckers have to pay careful attention is that it takes a much longer distance to stop a fully loaded truck than it would a passenger car.
For example, at 65 miles per hour, it takes an 18 wheeler over 500 feet, about a full football field and half of another, to come to a stop. By contrast, a car comes to a stop at about 300 feet, about the length of one football field.
The reason for the big difference in stopping distances is momentum. In other words, it takes longer for a heavier object, like a big rig, to stop even if it is traveling at the same speed as a lighter object, like a car.
These numbers assume a couple of important facts. First, the assumption is that the driver has a normal reaction time once he decides to brake. A driver who is drowsy or under the influence will take longer to brake.
Likewise, these numbers do not account for how it long it takes a driver to notice a hazard and decide to brake.
A truck driver who is not paying attention to the road, for whatever reason, is less likely to come to a complete stop. He will need all the time he can get to avoid a hazard.
Slowing down can also help truck drivers avoid accidents
Driving at a slower speed can also help truckers avoid rear-end collisions and other trucking accidents caused by an inability to stop in time.
For example, by slowing down just 10 miles per hour, from 65 miles per hour to 55 miles per hour, a truck driver can reduce the truck’s stopping distance from 525 feet to 335 feet.
Drivers of large vehicles have to account for the fact that they need longer to stop in an emergency.
They must always drive at a safe speed and be physically and mentally prepared to notice and respond to hazards. If they do not, and they cause an accident, they may have to pay compensation for damages.