Travel Safety: Stopping Distance

Newton’s first law of motion states that an object in motion remains in motion. Thankfully, automobiles have braking systems in place to combat this physics phenomenon. But, do all vehicles stop alike? (SPOILER ALERT: they don’t!)

While our stop-motion animation is not able to fully capture the scale of cars’ and trucks’ stopping distances, it does give you a general idea of the difference. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, standard cars need roughly 300 feet to stop when traveling at 65 mph. At the same speed, a fully loaded tractor trailer needs approximately 600 feet to come to a complete stop. For reference, that’s about one football field for a passenger vehicle and about two football fields for a commercial truck.

It’s important to keep this concept in mind as you travel, especially when you are merging into a lane in front of an 18 wheeler. As Kevin Wilkins mentioned in our video about blind spots, suddenly stopping when directly in front of a truck could have catastrophic results.

While good truck drivers will do their best to keep enough distance between themselves and the vehicles ahead, other drivers also have the responsibility spatial awareness. So, whether you’re traveling for the holidays or for a business trip, do your part and help keep the roads as safe as possible!

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