blog home Truck Accidents Why Proper Large Truck Braking Practices Are So Important

Why Proper Large Truck Braking Practices Are So Important

By Cleveland Personal Injury Attorney on July 15, 2023

Heavy truck steep hill hairpin

For truck drivers, correct downhill braking practices are crucial. Trucks take longer to stop than passenger cars due to their size and weight. If a truck is following too closely or driving at an unsafe speed, it could affect its ability to stop in time, resulting in a potentially fatal collision. There are many factors involved in truck accidents related to braking downhill. In addition to driver error, the brakes may not be properly maintained, or there may be an air-brake failure.

The Importance of Hiring Experienced Truck Drivers

Driving a truck is unlike driving any other vehicle and requires a substantial amount of training and experience. Experienced truck drivers have the knowledge and skill to properly brake downhill, decreasing overuse of the brakes, which could lessen the potential of brake failure.

Unfortunately, in recent years, the industry has experienced a shortage of truckers and an increase in carriers. With fewer qualified drivers available to fulfill these roles, trucking companies sometimes hire drivers who do not have the requisite experience.

The Importance of Proper Brake Maintenance

Poor brake maintenance could also lead to downhill braking accidents. Commercial trucks endure substantially heavy use, meaning they require more frequent maintenance and inspections. Trucks are expected to undergo regular performance-based brake tests (PBBT) to assess their overall braking capability. When routine maintenance and check-ups are neglected, it could create a dangerous situation and ultimately lead to a catastrophic accident.

For example, if the truck’s brakes are out of adjustment, it could cause other brakes to overheat and fade. Consequently, there will not be enough braking power available for the driver to control the truck.

How to Properly Brake Downhill

Proper braking practices are essential for truck drivers. Employing the right technique can not only help prevent accidents but also preserve the brakes and keep them from wearing out at a dangerous pace. These are the steps truckers should follow when braking downhill:

  • Begin by gently applying the brakes until the truck starts to slow down. The brake application should last approximately three seconds.
  • The speed of the truck should be reduced to about five mph below its safe rate of speed. At this point, the brakes should be released.
  • Once the truck’s speed increases to its safe speed, the first two steps should be repeated.

Every truck’s safe speed may differ. If the safe speed of a truck is 40 mph, then the brakes would not need to be applied until the truck reaches that speed. Then, the brakes would need to be applied to slowly reduce the truck’s speed to 35 mph before releasing the brakes. Following these steps could prevent excessive heat and reduce friction, resulting in the expansion of the brake drums.

Compensation for Your Injuries

You may be able to pursue compensation in a personal injury claim if you were injured in a truck accident caused by improper braking. If successful, you may be compensated for various damages, including medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Discuss Your Cleveland Truck Accident Case with an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer

Truck accidents, including jackknife accidents, are some of the most devastating accidents on the road and often result in catastrophic injuries. In the aftermath of a truck accident, it is important to seek legal representation from a Cleveland truck accident lawyer to improve your chances of securing compensation.

The George Mineff, Jr., Attorney at Law legal team in Cleveland, Ohio, is committed to providing compassionate and skilled representation. We care about the needs of every client and are here to help. Reach out to us today at (216) 621-3930 to schedule a free initial consultation.

Posted in: Truck Accidents

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