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Danger, Danger, Truck Driving at Night Causes More Truck Accidents

danger night driving
Published: October 8, 2007

 “Driving a truck at night is particularly dangerous because the truck has a much longer stopping distance than a passenger automobile,” affirms Jim Ronca, Pennsylvania truck driving attorney. 

“In fact, if a truck is going over 50 mph at night, it cannot stop with the range of its low-beam headlights.  Despite the fact that truck drivers have had commercial driver’s license training, most have no idea what is the stopping distance of their truck, nor the range of their headlights.”

night driving

Drivers don’t realize that the vehicles ahead are stopped until it's too late.

Night driving presents significant problems of determining how fast other vehicles are going on the road.  Established engineering studies demonstrate that a driver’s ability to determine whether vehicles ahead are stopped or are simply moving slowly as he approaches is inhibited at night. Frequently, a truck driver doesn’t realize that the vehicles ahead are stopped until he is too close to stop his truck.

Even if trucks are traveling at low speeds, their sheer massive size will do tremendous damage to a passenger automobile. 

Pennsylvania law firm Anapol Schwartz had a lawsuit case where a truck moving at under 10 mph folded a Toyota Camry completely in half, trunk over hood; then, rode up on top of the Toyota Camry and crushed it like a pancake. 

The reason truck drivers need to act and drive like professionals are because of the massive amounts of energy and force associated with trucks even at slow speeds. 

In a recent case, a night driving expert who was published in respected engineering journals was able to show how construction ahead warning signs were not back far enough to allow truck drivers to adjust their speed.  As the truck approached traffic, which had slowed to a stop because of construction, the truck driver was too close to bring his truck to a stop without crashing into the cars ahead. 

While the truck driver bore responsibility for not being able to stop his truck, the construction company also was responsible for not giving enough warning.  The requirements set forth in the Department of Transportation publications for warnings before a construction site (barrels, cones, warning signs) are considered minimum standards and a traffic control plan has to be established for each construction zone based on the circumstances at that particular construction zone. 

“Frequently, for the reasons stated above,” says Jim Ronca. “Road construction should provide more advance warnings to protect the driving public and prevent big truck crashes.” 

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