Truck drivers are required to obtain commercial licenses to drive large commercial trucks. These vehicles are massive, weighing as much as 80,000 pounds when loaded. Their length, size, and weight makes them a significantly greater challenge to safely navigate than a much smaller passenger vehicle. As such, they also require more road space ahead to safely brake and come to a stop.
Sometimes truck drivers fail to use proper braking techniques which can lead to truck crashes. In other cases, truck drivers or trucking companies may fail to take the required steps to ensure the brakes on trucks are properly maintained. In either case, the results can be disastrous, including severe injuries, death, and catastrophic property damage. Passenger vehicle occupants in these crashes are often the victims most severely affected.
Braking errors than can cause truck accidents
Commercial truck drivers are supposed to undergo training that instructs them how to adjust driving speed safely, how to pump the brakes, and how to determine the necessary road space required to come to a complete stop. Common truck driver errors than can lead to a serious truck accident include:
- Failing to downshift or slow down as needed
- Braking improperly or too hard on slippery surfacing or while hydroplaning
- Braking too hard which can cause the rig to rollover or jackknife, shift cargo, or spill cargo on the road
- Failing to brake before accumulating excessive speed, resulting in a potential runaway truck crash
Liability for a truck accident resulting from braking problems
Several potential parties may be held liable for a truck accident, depending on the cause. When it comes to brakes:
- Truck drivers can be held liable if they acted negligently, such as speeding, driving distracted, or falling asleep behind the wheel. Failure to account for gradient changes may also be viewed as negligence.
- Trucking companies can be held liable if the truck’s brakes were worn or poorly maintained. They may also be liable if their driver was not properly trained, or if issues with cargo cause the truck to flip or jackknife when the driver hits the brakes.
- Truck manufacturers may be held liable if the brakes were defective in some way.
Proper braking for truck drivers
Every truck driver needs to understand proper braking techniques to keep everyone on the road safe. These techniques can also help prevent premature wear and tear of brakes and avoid unnecessary truck accidents due to failed brakes.
Some tips truck drivers should heed and implement for safe braking include:
- Look at the gauge to determine if the air system is properly functioning.
- With the parking brake engaged, make sure the transmission is positioned to neutral.
- Push down on the brakes for two minutes before driving off, to ensure the air pressure in the truck’s braking system is sufficient.
- When driving in hazardous or inclement weather, such as in freezing rain, snow, or ice, adjust the traction control as needed.
- If the anti-lock braking system is engaged, push with steady pressure on the brakes, particularly with icy and slippery road conditions.
Were you the victim of a truck accident? Plaxen & Adler, P.A. is committed to helping clients like you secure the financial compensation they deserve. We can investigate your accident and determine who is responsible for your injuries. Then, we can vigorously pursue your rightful compensation. To arrange a free consultation, call our Maryland truck accident lawyers today at 410.730.7737 or leave us a message through our contact form.