A new NHTSA stopping distance chart was published in the last decade. A precise physics equation involving mass, velocity, and kinetic energy is what’s behind determining stopping distance. Thankfully, you don’t have to be a physicist to understand the braking standards. All you have to do is refer to the NHTSA stopping distance chart. It outlines what kind of space your vehicle should be able to stop in.
NHTSA Stopping Distance Chart Requirements
In ideal conditions, two main things influence stopping distance: truck load and driver awareness. On a dry, clear day a well-rested, sober driver should completely stop from a 60 mph speed in 235 feet, 250 feet carrying loads up to 70,000 pounds. Semis carrying more than than that or ones with three or more axles must stop within 310 feet.
Factors That Affect Stopping Distance
Since a semi weighs over four times as much as a passenger car, it needs much more space to stop fully. And that’s on flat ground. Put the truck on a downgrade and the truck will need even more room to stop. The weather is another issue that affects stopping distance. Rain, snow, and ice create a slick surface on the road that makes it hard for any size vehicle to stop.
While the weather isn’t something drivers can control, there are other factors that affect stopping distance that drivers can take charge of. Keeping to the speed limit, driving defensively, and getting enough rest are important, as is maintaining your rig. It’s an essential step that will help ensure your truck can meet the required stopping distance. Naturally, you’ll always want to make sure everything about your truck is working properly. Well-maintained brakes and properly inflated, good-quality tires make all the difference when it comes to stopping a heavy-duty truck in the shortest distance. Paying especially close attention to brakes and tires during inspections and PMs will help ensure your truck can stop according to the requirement on the NHTSA stopping distance chart.
Staying Safe for Stopping Short
The NHTSA stopping distance chart requirement for a semi to stop in 250 feet gives big rigs 110 feet less than the length of a football field to come to a complete halt. That might sound like a lot of room, but, all things considered, it’s really not. What’s more, the NHTSA stopping distance chart isn’t a suggestion. The measurements listed are required. Therefore, drivers and fleets typically have to undergo tests to prove their vehicles can stop in the distances stipulated.
At the bottom of it all, it’s a safety issue. Fleet management software is the best way to stay on top of the aspects involved with safety and regulations. Software like Fullbay keeps all your parts and maintenance info in one easy-to-use program. It manages your PM schedules and keeps the data handy for mandatory inspections, whether you have one truck or 100. Give Fullbay a try to see how helpful it can be managing your fleet and helping ensure your trucks meet the NHTSA stopping distance chart requirements.