Semis, big rigs, and 18-wheeler trucks populate every U.S. road. Statistics reveal that accidents caused by truck drivers are often from failing to keep a safe following distance. There are several factors to blame here, including excessive speeding. While the flow of vehicles on a highway is often the determining factor in traffic speed, it is a dangerous practice for truck drivers. Commercial trucks need ample space to stop, so speeding endangers other drivers.
In this blog, we'll take a look at the safe following distance for trucks and what happens when drivers don't observe this safety practice.
Many Commercial Drivers Fail to Factor in Weather Conditions
Drivers must maintain cautious speeds, especially when weather conditions are unsafe. The law dictates that heavy truck operators are required to reduce their speed by one-third in rainy or wet road conditions. When snow, dust, smoke, sleet, or rain affect visibility, drivers must take necessary precautions—they may even be required to pull over.
When their job is on the line, drivers quickly compromise on safety precautions. For this reason, many semi-trucks are seen speeding down a rainy freeway. Whether this is the result of driver carelessness or poor training, truck drivers or trucking companies should be held liable for injuries incurred from irresponsible speeds in unsafe weather conditions. Failing to maintain a safe following distance for trucks puts everyone on the road at risk.
Truck Drivers Need to Be Aware of All Potential Hazards on the Road
Trained commercial drivers are not only given clear guidelines to follow for a safe following distance for trucks. They are also informed of all factors that may cause an accident and are expected to self-monitor all of those potential dangers while operating their vehicle.
Expectations of truck drivers include:
- Keeping to the safe distance rule: Drivers must allow at least one second for every 10 feet of difference when traveling under 40mph. If going over 40mph, drivers are supposed to allow for an additional second per 10 feet.
- Consideration of their load size: Depending on the weight they are carrying, truck drivers should allow for extra space between cars if their load will hinder their stopping abilities.
- Allowing for human reaction time: It takes a considerable amount of time for us to see the closing distance, register that it is a potential danger, and then react to it. Drivers are supposed to be trained to allow extra time for human error.
- Monitoring their own fatigue: It is the responsibility of the commercial driver to pull over and rest if they feel too tired or too distracted to safely operate their vehicle.
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