How to Respond to Truck Brake Failure

runaway ramp

Brake failure is probably one of the most terrifying possibilities for commercial vehicle drivers.  However, proper vehicle maintenance, driving at safe speeds, and braking properly will almost always prevent brake failure on long downgrades. 

Proper commercial vehicle maintenance which includes regularly inspecting brakes is of the utmost importance, and it is the law!  This significantly reduces the risk of brake failure.  Improper maintenance that contributes to a commercial vehicle accident can even result in criminal charges and jail time! 

But what if it still happens?  Your best option is to use an escape ramp.  Escape ramps—also called runaway truck ramps—are made to stop runaway vehicles safely without injuring drivers and passengers.  If there is one, there will be signs indicating the location of the entrance to the ramp. 

Ramps are usually located a few miles down from the top of the downgrade.  Some escape ramps use soft gravel that will assist in bringing the vehicle to a stop more quickly.  Others turn uphill to stop the vehicle and let the soft gravel keep it in place.  If no escape ramp is available take the least hazardous escape route you can, like an open field or a side road that flattens out or turns uphill.  Make the move as soon as you know your brakes don’t work!  The longer you wait the more momentum will build thus making it hard to stop.

CDL Direct is committed to providing the highest quality Entry Level Driver Training course available online.  We also provide ongoing safety tips for truck drivers through our blogs.  If you are considering getting your commercial driver’s license or would like to benefit from the safe driving tips that we provide then check us out at today!

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