Photo of Jacob J. Beausay, Sara C. Nichols And T. Jeffrey Beausay.

What are the stopping distances of cars vs. semi-trucks?

It goes without saying that passenger vehicles and semi-trucks pose very different levels of danger on the road. Semi-trucks are large, heavy, and have a longer stopping distance compared to typical cars.

Understanding the significance of stopping distance is one way for drivers of all types to help mitigate catastrophic accidents. By comparing the stopping distance of two different classes of vehicles, you can apply the knowledge to keep yourself safe behind the wheel.

Comparing stopping distances

Data shows the average stopping distance for a standard passenger vehicle is approximately 316 feet when traveling 65 miles per hour. At the same speed, a semi-truck need around 525 feet to come to a complete stop. This data accounts for the average reaction distance of drivers as well as the average weight of vehicles in each class.

Putting this information to use

Recognizing that large commercial trucks have a greater stopping distance can help you make better decisions while driving. Coming to an abrupt stop is always dangerous when another vehicle is close behind you, but it is especially so when that other vehicle is a semi-truck. It is not possible for a semi to come to a complete stop as quickly as a smaller car, so make sure to brake gradually whenever possible to avoid a major rear-end collision.

Large truck accidents can result in major damage to property and people alike. Being aware of the disparity in stopping distance between vehicles of various size classes is a way to protect yourself and other motorists around you from a crash.