Why You Shouldn’t Cut Off Semi Trucks While Driving

Most people have a basic understanding of the fact that it takes a semi truck longer to stop than a normal car, yet this seems to be forgotten thousands of times every single day.  So, what's the reasoning for it?  Impatience?

It's so tempting for drivers to speed past a trucker only to cut them off and.... wait for it...slam on the brakes!  So many times a car will cut off a semi truck only to end up stopped at the same intersection as the trucker, just slightly ahead.  What can be done to make this better?

It's a really simple answer - leave plenty of buffer room when you pull in front of a truck so that the driver has enough time to stop.  It's important that drivers understand what total stopping distance means. 

Total Stopping Distance = Perception Distance + Reaction Distance + Braking Distance

Let's break this down a bit further by defining each:

  • Perception distance is distance needed before you the realize the need to brake
  • Reaction distance is the distance the vehicle moves by the time you move your foot to the brake pedal
  • Braking distance is the distance the vehicle moves while the brakes actually take effect

Just to give you an idea on the different between stopping distance for a car and truck...

  • An average car weighs about 5,000 pounds and at 55 MPH takes around 140 feet to stop
  • An average semi truck weighs around 80,000 pounds and at 55 MPH takes around 300 feet to stop

There's a really big difference there!  We're talking a full football field vs. not quite half a football field.  When you think of it in those terms it makes things very real. 

See All 10 Tips for Sharing the Road with Semi Trucks Here

Share Your Thoughts

If you're mostly a car driver, what rule do you practice to make sure you aren't cutting trucks off? 

If you're a trucker, what do you do to make sure you don't cut off other trucks should you need to pass them?  Share in the comments area below.