Stopping Distances for Commercial Vehicles

The trucking industry is tightly regulated due to the risk of serious injury. Truck drivers must adhere to strict rules about how far they can travel in a given day, how long they can stay on the road and when they need to take breaks. Trucks are dangerous because of their large size. Truck drivers need to consider their stopping distances.

Scientific Data

Normal passenger vehicles, such as cars and small pickup trucks, will take about 316 feet to stop once they recognize the need. A semi-truck takes 525 feet to come to a complete halt after it recognizes the need to stop. This is an important aspect in truck accident cases as it often requires accident reconstruction to determine the stopping distance. Different factors must be taken into account in order to accurately calculate the vehicle’s stopping distance.

Reaction Distance

Perception of imminent danger is one example. A passenger vehicle driver usually takes 1.5 seconds for a danger situation to be recognized and applies the brakes. The average truck driver takes about 1.5 seconds to react to a dangerous situation.


The vehicle’s weight also has an impact on the stopping time. Semi trucks are heavier than other vehicles and have more powerful brakes, but semi trucks take longer to stop due to their larger weight. Semi trucks can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds, while cars are averaging 5,000 pounds.

A car traveling at 40 mph takes approximately 124 feet to stop. This is because the driver has to perceive the danger. A truck driver, on the other hand, takes about 169 feet to stop when traveling at the same speed.


It is important to determine the vehicle’s speed before the accident in order to calculate stop times. The vehicle will need to stop for a longer time if it is moving at a faster speed. Comparing to the above figures, a passenger car will travel approximately 316 feet from its awareness point when it is traveling 65 miles an hour. It takes 525 feet for a semi truck to stop.

Height and perception

The vehicle’s height could also play a role in truck accidents. Truck drivers might be able to spot potential dangers earlier due to their elevated position. Truck drivers can avoid or minimize potential dangers if they are able to see them sooner. Because they are too close to other vehicles, commercial trucks and passenger vehicles cannot see potential dangers in front them and have less time to react.

Other Variables

There are many other factors that can affect semi truck stopping distances. Weather can also play a significant role in semi truck stopping distance. The braking distance can be significantly increased when there is snow, rain, or ice on the roads. Road conditions are another factor that can affect the semi truck’s stopping distance. Semi truck stopping distances can also be affected by the tread depth and how the brakes are applied. The calculation can be affected by factors that impact driver’s ability recognize danger.

Computers onboard

Modern commercial vehicles are equipped with an onboard computer to store important information. These data could include information about the vehicle’s speed before an accident, and when the brakes were applied. These data can be used to reconstruct the events leading up to an accident. This is important information. The manufacturer and the onboard computer determine the type of data available.

Legal assistance

A personal injury lawyer may be able to assist individuals involved in truck accident cases. An injured party in a truck accident case may be able to discuss the availability and use of computer data onboard to determine the distance to stop the commercial vehicle. He or she might also discuss factors that could have influenced the braking distance.

Updated 01/18/22