A truck starts tailgating you down the road, even though you’re not driving much below the speed limit. It’s frustrating because you’re driving at night, so those headlights are glaring in your mirrors.
Then you start wondering what will happen when you get to a red light. Will the truck even be able to brake in time? How far does it need? Are you already on the verge of a catastrophic accident?
You may be, depending on how fast you need to stop. In that sense, an emergency situation — like a car pulling out in front of you — is more dangerous than a red light. You may not have any warning. Even if you can stop your car in time, that truck may not stop quickly enough to avoid a collision.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that a truck that is going 60 miles per hour has about 250 feet to come to a stop. The regulation used to say that trucks had 355 feet, but it was altered in 2009.
Even with this change, the truck will not stop for roughly the distance of two and a half football fields. That is only if the truck is going 60 miles per hour in perfect conditions. If it’s going fast, the road is wet or the truck driver does not hit the brakes fast enough, you may not even have that much distance.
If you do end up in an accident, make sure you know what rights you have to seek compensation for your medical bills and other costs from the at-fault driver.