For most drivers, the proper following distance is defined by the three-second rule. No matter how fast you’re driving, as long as there are three seconds between your car and the car ahead of you, that is generally considered enough space for you to stop in time. Anything closer, though it may not appear to be tailgating, increases the odds of an accident.
But does this also apply to truck drivers? After all, an 18-wheeler may weigh as much as 80,000 pounds, while a normal car is probably only around 4,000 pounds. What type of distance is safe for a truck?
More than twice the distance is recommended
Because of the weight mentioned above and other challenges with bringing a semi to a stop quickly, many experts recommend a following distance that is more than twice what other drivers would use. Namely, they say that seven or eight seconds is what truck drivers should shoot for.
Beyond that, truck drivers have to be extra careful if it is rainy and the roads are wet. When weather conditions make things slick, they may need to add additional time to their following distances. Some experts even suggest doubling those distances.
Of course, this can be difficult to do, as other drivers may keep entering the space between the truck and the next car. But truck drivers have to be wary of the risks that they pose, and they need to do everything they can to keep a safe following distance at all times. If a driver does not do so and causes an accident as a result, those who are injured in the accident may be able to seek substantial compensation.