The most important space around 18 wheelers or other big trucks is the space in front of it. Having enough space in front is essential to avoiding a rear end truck crash, especially if a semi has to stop suddenly.
Depending on size and speed, a car may be able to stop within 2 to 4 seconds and within 150 feet. Stopping an 80,000 pound tractor-trailer in perfect weather can take almost twice as long- more than 290 feet and at least 7 seconds. So when traffic ahead slows or stops, a car can stop more quickly than a semi following it. If both vehicles slow down, the space between them can shrink. If the trucker was following too closely, the truck can rear end the vehicle ahead. Unfortunately, rear end 18 wheeler accidents are not uncommon.
Having enough space between a truck and the vehicles ahead of it also helps the a truck driver see and react to traffic conditions ahead quickly enough to avoid dangerous situations. If a tractor- trailer driver does not have enough time and space to safely avoid a dangerous situation and the driver has to slam on the brakes, the eighteen wheeler may jackknife and crash into other vehicles on the road.
How Close is Too Close?
Kansas and Missouri law both require that drivers not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, taking into account the speed of the vehicles, other traffic and condition of the road. Both states have specific additional requirements for trucks. For example, we have learned as an 18 wheeler accident lawyer Missouri law requires, truck drivers on highways outside business or residential districts to allow at least 300 feet between the truck and other vehicles except when passing.
One general rule of thumb is truck drivers should allow at least one second for each 10 feet of vehicle length at 40 miles per hour or under and allow an additional second for faster speeds. For example, a 60 foot tractor-trailer should allow 6 seconds to stop at 40 miles an hour or less and allow an additional second, for a total of 7 seconds, if traveling faster than that. Of course, weather conditions like rain, snow or ice can reduce traction requiring longer stopping distances and times.
Rear end big truck accidents, where a tractor trailer, moving van, delivery truck or other commercial vehicle crashes into the back of another vehicle, are probably the most common type of trucking accident. While other big truck wreck types have declined, rear end collisions involving commercial trucks have actually increased.
Consistent with this, it is not uncommon to see large trucks following to closely. For example, despite the rules, tractor-trailers are often seen on Interstate 435 in Overland Park and Interstate 35 in Kansas City, Missouri in rush hour traffic behind other vehicles with less following distance than these guidelines and rules require. Following to closely has been a contributing factor in a number of Kansas City 18 wheeler accidents.
If a truck follows your vehicle too closely, then the driver may not have enough time to stop resulting in a rear end truck accident. Apart from their massive weight, size, and force, being rear-ended by a truck may bring about even more disastrous consequences if they are carrying hazardous materials. Sadly, even low speed impacts can cause serious and possibly fatal injuries.
If you or someone you love is seriously injured, disabled, or killed in a truck accident caused by the truck following too closely, call Flick Law Firm at (816) 221-0501. We can investigate your claim and help you obtain full compensation for your accident-related damages, including your medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, reduced earning capacity, and pain and suffering.