How Improper Braking Can Cause Truck Accidents
A fully loaded truck weighs up to 80,000 pounds. Severe injuries can result when a truck collides with pedestrians, cyclists, or regular passenger vehicles. Truck drivers need to know what they’re doing to keep everyone safe on the highway. That’s why it takes a lot of training to get a commercial driver’s license (CDL).
One of the most important parts of trucking is safe braking. Trucks require more time to slow down, and drivers must make sure their trailers are aligned to avoid mishaps while braking. When truck drivers use ill-advised braking techniques, it can lead to accidents and mechanical failure.
Tips for Proper Braking
Using the right braking techniques keep brake shoes from getting too hot, which can lead to brake failure. The correct procedures will also enhance overall truck performance, preserving the life of brake shoes and helping to prevent blown out tires.
Truckers can help eliminate dangerous crashes by doing the following:
- Don’t tailgate
- Use extra caution in hazardous weather conditions
- Stay alert to the traffic flow at all times
- Don’t panic and slam on the brakes when traffic slows
- Select the proper gears when traveling downhill
- Apply brakes intermittently to avoid overheating
- Test your brakes before every trip
- Never go faster than the speed limit
- Make sure the truck and trailer are lined up when braking
How to Prevent Braking Accidents
Big rig trucks are longer and wider than other types of vehicles. They’re also coupled with heavy trailers that can become unstable when driver brake too quickly. Veteran drivers know how to brake gradually, by pumping and releasing.
When there’s a sudden slowdown in traffic, inexperienced truckers are likely to slam on the brakes, which may cause a jackknife accident, as the trailer become stretched out across several lanes of traffic.
Traveling down an extended incline is another situation where poorly trained and inexperienced drivers often fail to follow proper braking techniques. It’s essential for drivers to use downshifting to slow down gradually instead of relying entirely on their brakes.
Drivers who haven’t been taught how to downshift correctly can overheat the shoes by braking too much, leading to brake failure. This has catastrophic consequences when the truck is unable to stop, and it crashes into one or more cars.
Another way to prevent truck accidents is for drivers to correctly estimate stopping time. That way, they’re able to maintain safe gaps between trucks and other vehicles. Drivers must also remain aware that stopping times increase in rainy, icy, and snowy conditions, so they should adjust their speed accordingly.
Why Truckers Don’t Always Drive Safe
People who own trucking companies try to save money by cutting corners. When they do, the results can be tragic. There are four major factors that cause truck drivers to perform careless and dangerous actions and put others at risk.
- Lack of experience. Over time, drivers learn how to use the best braking techniques in various situations.
- Inadequate training. Responsible trucking companies only hire drivers from well-established, fully accredited trucking schools who already know the right way to use their brakes.
- Poor supervision. Trucking companies must monitor their drivers closely and require them to regularly submit DMV reports to ensure they’re maintaining a safe driving record.
- Driving too many hours. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) requires truck drivers to follow strict schedules, so they don’t drive too many hours. But greedy trucking companies often encourage truckers to break these rules to make more money.
Were You Harmed by a Dangerous Trucker?
At Aratta Law Firm, we don’t think you should have to pay for injuries caused by another person’s careless behavior. We’ll investigate your accident and file a claim against the negligent driver’s insurance company to help you get the money you need to get better.
Call (818) 550-1111 to schedule your FREE consultation with a Glendale truck accident attorney today. At Aratta Law Firm, you won’t owe us anything unless we win you a settlement.