blog home Truck Accidents How Truckers Should Brake Properly While Traveling Downhill

How Truckers Should Brake Properly While Traveling Downhill

By Dallas Personal Injury Attorney on November 20, 2022

Operating a large truck properly requires skill and training, hence the commercial driver’s license. These trucks are wide, long, and heavy, and the hauled trailers increase the vehicle’s instability. A driver who does not understand the brake system risks causing devastating accidents. Our Dallas truck accident attorneys at The Lenahan Law Firm will help you prove liability if you have been involved in a truck accident. Read on to learn more about truck braking systems and how they affect liability.

Why Is Downhill Braking So Important?

Downhill braking is challenging, especially for trucks, as you risk skidding or overturning. Hence, being a truck driver requires you to master the skill of skid control to prevent such accidents. These include safe braking, taking advantage of safe stopping, utilizing the jake brake, and descending slowly.

The Advantage of Experienced Drivers and Proper Brake Maintenance

Hiring experienced drivers will save the trucking industry from negligent driving that could cause accidents making the industry liable. A competent driver will implement proper brakes techniques, including pressing the brakes down for two minutes to release the braking system’s air pressure. They will also maintain the gauge to ensure proper functionality of the air system. Competent drivers will also ensure neutral truck transmission when they engage the parking brake and apply steady brake pressure upon engaging the anti-lock brake system. A competent driver is also alert to seasonal changes and will utilize traction control and brake pressure accordingly.

In addition to hiring competent drivers, the trucking industry should emphasize the maintenance of the braking systems for effective performance. Faulty brakes account for up to 29% of truck crashes. Critical brake maintenance tips include:

  • Check Air Pressure Levels – The truck’s gauge running below 60 psi before driving indicates that it is time to check your brakes. Ideally, your pressure should be between 100 and 125psi, and driving below will risk other road users’ safety.
  • Replace Worn-Out Parts – Brake linings are usually the first part of your system that you will replace, given their tough functions. If your lining’s thickness falls below ¼ of an inch, consider a replacement.
  • Check Your Air Hoses to Ensure Their Proper Attachment – Knowing when to replace bearings will also save you unnecessary downtime and emergencies. The replacement intervals will depend on the operating environment, vehicle age, usage, and vocation.

How Truckers Should Brake Correctly While Going Downhill

The brake’s design is such that its shoes or pads will rub against the drums or discs to slow down the vehicle, a process that releases heat. While brakes can take a lot of heat courtesy of their design, they will fade from excess heat due to overuse and failure to rely on the engine braking effect. Overheated drums will expand, and the brake shoes and linings have to move further to contact the drums, reducing the contact force. With overuse, it will be harder to slow down or stop the vehicle over time, hence the increased risk of accidents.

It’s extremely important for truckers to brake correctly when going downhill. A truck driver should select the right gear for traveling down the slope, allow natural acceleration to the maximum safe speed, and apply the brakes to slow the truck. Depending on your safe speed, you should reduce your speed up to 5 mph below it, then release the brakes. As you perform the latter, you should continue the process down the hill and intermittently apply the brakes to distribute the energy in all the brakes.

How a Dallas Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help

Improper braking is lethal and can cause accidents leading to injuries and the loss of lives. When you get involved in such, you will need to prove that you were not negligent. Our lawyers take pride in helping individuals prove the cause of the accident. We will investigate the cause of the crash and help you obtain financial compensation for your injuries. Contact The Lenahan Law Firm at (214) 295-1008 and schedule an appointment with us.

Related Articles:

Posted in: Truck Accidents

"I honestly am not sure what we would’ve done without you and your team. You have our deepest gratitude."
- Charles D.