Is it true that, in general, modifiers should be placed close to the words they modify?
It's fairly easy to conceptualize. A modifier, such as an adjective or superlative, is easiest to understand when it's closest to the word it's modifying.
A big truck is hard to get into.
A truck is hard to get into when it's big.
The idea is to keep it as simple as possible. Even though they're both correct, one is much less ambiguous than the other, while being much more succinct.