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Have you ever been behind a large truck on a road where you were unable to pass it? Your frustration built up with each mile until you finally had your chance to get around it. The opportunity was tight, and you had to zip in front of the truck at the last minute, but no big deal, right? Wrong!

While most passenger vehicles weigh between 3,000 – 4,000 pounds, those large trucks that can sometimes feel like such a nuisance can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. That’s a huge difference in impact. Imagine your car being hit by one of those behemoths on the highway! And did you know that it can take twice the distance for a large truck to stop as it does for a car? A vehicle weighing 4,000 pounds driving at a speed of 65 miles-per-hour takes approximately 316 feet to stop. That’s almost the length of a football field. But a truck weighing 80,000 pounds traveling at a speed of 65 miles-per-hour takes approximately 525 feet to stop. That’s almost the length of two football fields. And that’s under ideal driving conditions! Add a little rain, and you’ve got an even bigger issue.

There’s another problem with those big rigs on the road. They have a completely different braking system than our cars do. Most passenger vehicles have hydraulic brakes, while semi-trucks have air brakes. Hydraulic brakes use liquid, and they kick in almost instantaneously,but with air brakes there is a lag time between when the driver hits the brakes and when they are actually applied. That’s because the air has to build up and reach everywhere on the truck before the braking system can work to stop the vehicle. So, when you zip in front of that semi and the driver slams on the brakes, nothing actually happens in those initial moments. And that can mean real trouble for you.

When you’re deciding whether there’s enough room for you to pull in front of that truck, you need to be able to accurately determine the stopping distance the truck will require to avoid hitting you if your judgement is inaccurate. There are 3 components to determining stopping distance.

  1. First, there is perception distance.This is the distance a vehicle covers while the driver becomes aware of the need to brake and makes the decision to do so.
  2. Second is reaction distance. This is the distance a vehicle travels during the time the driver takes to actually react and apply the brakes.
  3. Third is braking distance. This is the distance a vehicle travels from the moment the driver presses on the brake pedal until the truck actually stops.

Misjudge any of these components, and you could really regret pulling in front of that truck.

When we’re driving on our North Texas roads, we need to drive with caution—even if we’re in a hurry—and make good decisions based on sound understanding of the hazards we face. And if we are ever in an accident, we need to make good decisions on the kind of care we need to recover—and that’s where Accident and Injury Chiropractic can help. We offer our patients sound information on their injuries and the recovery process and provide quality care to help them heal quickly and completely.   

If you’ve been injured in an 18-wheeler, automobile, motorcycle or pedestrian accident, call Accident & Injury Chiropractic today and get the kind of care, respect and professional treatment this reviewer got.