Speed and Trucks: A Lethal Combination
New Jersey roadways see a great deal of traffic from vehicles of all types. In the northern part of the state, you won’t come across tractor-trailers or other big rigs on the Garden State Parkway. Instead, you may find them passing you on the New Jersey Turnpike or other highways. That said, speed and trucks can make for a lethal combination when it comes to crashes.
If you sense that truck accidents are occurring with more frequency, you aren’t off base. Unfortunately, some of New Jersey’s worst roadways exist in the surrounding areas. Truckers can be found on Route 78 and Routes 1 and 9. Many times, they are in too much of a hurry that causes delay and harm.
No doubt you can already guess the immense pressure truckers encounter. On the one hand, they face restrictions regarding their hours of service. Federal regulations limit their hours of service to avoid the consequences of driver fatigue.
In the meantime, a big rig operator stuck in traffic may need to make up time. Delivering cargo by a specified hour may necessitate putting the foot on the gas pedal a little heavier. While the decision to do so works sometimes, it can prove fatal.
Speeding past other size vehicles on the highway isn’t the only problem. In fact, the major issue relates to stopping. Road and weather conditions are another critical factor. In fact, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration “FMSCA” offers commercial motor vehicle operators tips when it comes to safe operation related to speed.
Truck Speed and Adverse Conditions
To date, New Jersey drivers haven’t faced the dangers of icy or snowy roads. However, that’s not to say that rainfall doesn’t make for wet highways. Truth be told, a significant number of fatal truck accidents occurred when a driver was speeding during adverse weather conditions.
As you might already know, the bigger the vehicle, the longer it takes for it to stop. The FMSCA actually suggests that truckers reduce their speed by 1/3 on wet roads. On snow-packed roads, it’s critical to slow down by half the regular speed.
Meanwhile, the roadway becomes even more slippery when water mixes with oil. It’s no wonder that it’s more difficult to stop. Of course, driving fast in congested traffic conditions also makes it difficult to slow down.
Other Associated Problems with Speed and Trucks
In some cases, the problems related to high speed rests on tire issues. Research suggests that truck tires aren’t designed to go faster than 70 mph. Tire blowouts are sometimes related to excessive speed.
Brakes are another concern when it comes to speed and trucks. A retarder, which is also known as a “Jake” brake may cause a truck to go out of control in some circumstances. And, of course, maintenance of both tires and brakes matters when it comes to safety issues.
Consider yet another factor that comes into play with speed and trucks. Without a doubt, cargo loads impact a trucker’s ability to stop and avoid an accident. Jackknife accidents are often related to load shifting issues.
Like any other vehicle, taking curves at a lower rate of speed helps in minimizing risk. Again, a large truck should take it slower to avoid a collision.
The bottom line comes down to a loss of control. A trucker doing 80 mph on dry pavement can expect an overall stopping distance of 400 feet. That distance equates to about six semi-tractor trailers. On wet pavement, that same rate of speed could result in a stopping distance of 720 feet.