These days, tractor-trailer trucks traveling across Illinois and other parts of the nation substantially outweigh standard passenger vehicles, making it critically important that these oversize vehicles have high-functioning braking systems. At Kerley & Talken PC, we recognize that navigating commercial trucks downhill safely requires not only functioning brakes, but also well-trained truck drivers who understand that they cannot rely on those brakes, exclusively, to see the trucks safely downhill.
According to Transport Topics, air brakes, which are common on most of today’s commercial trucks, can fail in at least two ways. When air brakes fail, a truck driver may lose control over the vehicle entirely, potentially leading to catastrophic crashes and associated injuries. Furthermore, many crashes involving brake failure also involve truck drivers who are young, inexperienced or both, suggesting that experience and proper training go a long way in terms of preventing brake-related truck wrecks.
In many cases, brake failure issues arise because a truck driver relies too much on the air brake system when traveling down a steep hill. Under these conditions, the brakes can get too hot, which can cause them to fail and catch fire. With adequate training and experience, though, truck drivers typically know not to rely solely on the air brakes. If their vehicles have jake brakes, for example, they can use them to help slow a truck.
Air brake systems can also fail if they do not receive an adequate, steady supply of air. This air is what keeps them open while the truck moves, so the driver can press them when necessary, and if the airstream stops, the brakes can lock up, potentially endangering everyone in the truck’s path. You can find more on truck wrecks on our webpage.