It should come as no surprise to anyone who is familiar with driving a car everyday that driving a “big-rig” truck is vastly different and requires a whole different set of skills. This is certainly one of the reasons that “truckers” have a different “class” of driver’s license for which they must get specific training.
One area that highlights the vast difference between drving a truck and driving a car involves night time driving and a trucker’s ability to stop when faced with an oncoming road hazard. Because of the size and weight of a truck, it takes much longer to slow or steer a truck than it does a car. For instance, sources say that total stopping distance for a truck when taking into account a driver’s perception, reaction and braking, can be as much as 419 feet.
When a trucker is driving at night, the danger is futher enhanced because the low beam headlights of some trucks illuminate only around 200 feet in front of the driver. This results in a distance of 219 feet that is unaccounted for. On a dark night, a truck driver can easily be blind to pedestrians in the roadway, broken down cars or other hazards that lie ahead.
Truck drivers are trained to take the difference between their stopping distance and the limitations of their headlights into account and are taught to never “overdrive their headlights.” Yet, in the “real world” where “time is money” and drivers can easily become distracted or neglectful, overdriving their headlights happens frequently.
A recent Chelmsford pedestrian fatality reminds us that when a pedestrian or the driver of a broken down vehicle on the side of a road or a highway is struck by a truck, it’s possible that “overdriving the headlights” could be a factor contributing to the accident.
Read the article here: http://chelmsford.patch.com/articles/fatal-pedestrian-crash-in-chelmsford-being-investigated