Causes of Failed Braking in Truck Accidents
You and your family are on your way home from a late night dinner and movie extravaganza as you merge onto the highway. You kids are quietly dozing in the back having stuffed their bellies with burgers, popcorn, and SourPatch Kids. Your wife is quietly humming to a song playing on the radio.
Everything is serene and perfect. That is until you notice the brake lights on the truck ahead of you. They look like they’re imitating strobe lights or something, as they keep excessively blinking on and off. The truck itself starts to veer in and out of the lanes, and appears to actually be speeding up, rather than slowing down.
What is going on? Is the trucker losing control? Are his brakes not working? What will happen if he can’t regain control?
Braking Factors in Truck Crashes
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration estimates that every hour, 15 traffic injuries are caused by trucks losing control. Research from the Department of Transportation has recently discovered that over 29 percent of these accidents are presumably caused by braking issues. This means that over 100 people a day fall victim to injuries due to poor brake control factors. These factors, in which truckers believe increase brake effectiveness, include:
- Truck speed. Due to the size and weight of the average semi-truck, truckers shouldn’t exceed 65 mph. If they go above 65 mph their braking distance increases exponentially, increasing their risk of rear-ending the vehicle in front of them.
- Traffic conditions. It is hard to maneuver a truck in the best conditions, but during bumper-to-bumper traffic, the perpetual braking can shift cargo, jerk trailers, and increase the possibility of a fender-bender. However, when it comes to trucks, fender-benders are a little more extreme.
- Load weight. The weight of a trucks cargo can increase the trucks overall weight by thousands of pounds. This increased weight can drastically increase stopping distance as the force in the rear of the vehicle becomes greater. In addition, when a truck is empty, the stopping distance is shorter, but if a trucker doesn’t compensate, he could wind up slamming on his brakes too soon, and you could wind up driving straight into his undercarriage.
- Poor brake maintenance. It takes a lot of work to stop a hundred thousand pound vehicle, and if its brakes aren’t well maintained, that work can come up dangerously short.
- Poor tire maintenance. Brakes can’t work if the tires in which they’re applying themselves to aren’t up to snuff. If they have defects, poor traction, or size irregularities—even well maintained brakes won’t be able to properly grab on to them or slow them down.
- Road surface. Wet, icy, or slippery roads can lead to spin outs, hydroplaning, and skidding even when the brakes are adequately maintained and properly used. If the tires have no traction, the truck will still slide.
Stop Suffering the Consequences of Someone Else’s Mistake
Even though there are several hazardous factors that can cause brakes to attribute to a trucker losing control of his rig, the point is that he should be able to regain control. As with any vehicle, there are times in which no matter what a trucker tries, the force of the trailer is too much and a collision is inevitable. However, just as if you lose control and crash into someone else, he is responsible for the collision. So, if it’s his fault, why are you suffering the consequences?
The answer is—you shouldn’t be.
If you’ve recently been injured as a result of a trucker losing control and colliding into you, you may be eligible for compensation. Contact us today for a free consultation and review of your case. Our experience and guidance will help you get the justice you deserve, while putting the consequences where they deserve—with the guilty party. Call now to see how we can help you.
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