Because drivers of big rigs are controlling such a large and heavy vehicle, they have a special responsibility to drive safely and skillfully. The weight of the truck and the load they are carrying can cause serious accidents if they fail to control their vehicle. One area that is a leading cause of truck accidents is improper braking.
Controlling such weight takes special training and education which is why a commercial driver’s license is required to drive a big rig. These drivers have to understand the physics of their job – a large heavy mass in motion takes longer time-wise and distance-wise to stop than does a smaller object like a car. If a truck driver is negligent in applying his brakes, havoc can ensue.
How truck drivers can avoid serious accidents with proper braking & driving
- Apply brakes properly. A truck driver needs to press down on his brakes for two minutes so that he can check the air pressure of the braking system. This will insure that his braking system is working.
- Never ride the brakes downhill: Runaway trucks can occur if a trucker rides his brakes going downhill, as they can overheat and fail to work. What is required of truckers when traveling downhill is a significant decrease in speed so that they can maintain control of their rig, without having to ride their brakes.
- Slow down around curves: If a trucker takes a curve too fast, he will have to use his brakes excessively to stay in control of his rig. Excessive speed around a curve can result in a skid, jackknifing, or a rollover.
- Use brake retarders correctly: The purpose of brake retarders is to cut down on the wear and tear of the tires. However, in bad weather, when the drive wheels have less traction, they can cause the truck to skid. Knowing the proper way to use retarders is vital to the safety of the trucker and those on the road.
- Know how to use brakes when loads are full or empty. One would think an empty load would allow a big rig to stop more quickly. However, the opposite is true. Professional truck drivers know that a fully loaded truck stops faster than an empty truck because of the traction provided by the weight. In addition, a heavier truck, because of its better grip, can brake harder without locking its wheels. When driving with an empty load, truckers should always leave more space between their truck and the vehicle in front, as it will take longer to stop.
- Know how to avoid accidents with wet brakes. The brakes of big rigs, just as with any other motor vehicle, can get wet in inclement weather. If this happens, the brakes can lock up causing the truck to skid. Skillful truckers avoid driving through deep puddles, or if not possible, they know to shift into low gear, and then ride the brakes lightly for a short while to dry them out.
If a trucker is inexperienced, poorly trained, tired, or distracted, he may brake improperly causing the truck to jackknife, rollover, skid, or crash. To ensure your own safety, be sure to leave plenty of distance between you and a truck on the road, pass without delay (always on the left), and be sure to avoid the truck driver’s blind spot.
If you suffered injuries in a trucking accident, you might be entitled to rightful compensation. If you’d like a Miami Car Wreck Pro® attorney from Julian Rudolph Law to evaluate your case, please send us an email or call (305) 300-2702.