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Friday, 12 July 2019 20:13

Truck Topics: Hey Buddy … Got a Millisecond?

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During the 2nd annual HD Repair Forum event held in Fort Worth, Texas, in March 2019, John Spoto, National Heavy Duty Truck Commercial Fleet manager for the 3M Company gave a fascinating presentation on the effects of a crash and how so much can happen in a very short amount of time.

The following is a brief synopsis of that presentation. It is not meant to be scientifically precise, but only meant to give some perspective on what happens during a crash and what must be done to return the vehicle to road-worthiness.

 

To begin with, there are many variables that determine the severity of a crash including:

 

  • The speed of the moving vehicle. Did you know the faster you drive, the greater the impact or striking power of your vehicle? The laws of physics determine that the force of impact increases with the square of the increase in speed. So, if you double the speed of a vehicle, you increase its force of impact four times.
  • The weight of the moving vehicle. This is especially crucial with trucks. Is the truck traveling empty or loaded? If it is loaded, how much does it weigh and how secure is the load?
  • What is the nature of the object the truck will come into contact with? Is it completely stationary and immovable, like a reinforced brick or block wall, a bridge abutment, or a large tree? If so, the impact energy of the truck will be pushed back in an equal amount and the truck will sustain the entire force of the crash. If the truck hits something that will move, like a parked vehicle, for instance, the other vehicle will absorb some of the energy. The deceleration of the truck would not be so abrupt and thereby mitigating some of the damage to the truck and occupants.
  • If truck “A” is going 60 mph and hits truck “B” of equal size and weight in a head-on manner, also going 60 mph, it would be the same as truck “A” hitting an immovable object at 60 mph.

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