“Two die in a fiery crash, after a semi-truck fails to brake on the Beltway.”

“A family of five hospitalized when an 18-wheeler loses control at the top of a hill near their home.”

It seems like every week you hear about some kind of truck tragedy caused by failed brakes. It’s to the point where if you see a truck, you’ll do your best to avoid it just in case. However, you can’t run away from them the rest of your life. You need to be able to confidently drive near them, while also being able to identify potential problems.

How can you do that? How can you tell if a truck is having brake problems?

Recognizing Dangerous Brake Failures

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration estimates that over 145,000 people are injured in truck accidents every year due to brake failure. The Department of Transportation backs up these findings by stating that 29.4 percent of all large truck crashes involve brake failures, brakes out of adjustment, and other brake-related issues. This is why it is extremely important to be able to recognize the warning signs that a truck’s brakes are having issues—before it’s too late for you and your family.

When driving near a truck, make sure that you stay alert for the following warning signs of brake trouble:

  • Loud screeching or thumping. If the brakes aren’t making adequate connections with the truck’s tires, the friction caused by the revolving tires can create loud noises
  • Jerking (especially forward jerking). If the trucker is having issues applying pressure to the brakes, or the brakes themselves are having issues holding a grip, the truck can appear to be lurching forward as the brakes try to grab on to the tires.
  • Rapid acceleration (particularly down hills). Since the weight of a truck is so great, air brakes are meant to slow trucks down when riding downhill. If the brakes are malfunctioning, the weight of the trailer—along with gravity—will push the truck down the hill at accelerated speeds.
  • Hazard lights or honking. If a trucker knows he is in trouble, and that his brakes aren’t working, he should turn on his hazard lights or use his horn to warn other motorists of the potential danger as he coasts to a stop. If you see his emergency flashers on, stay back! Don’t attempt to pass him, or help him until he comes to a complete stop.

When Accidents Happen, Protect Your Family’s Future

Don’t be a statistic! Pay attention, follow truck safety guidelines, and make sure your family knows what to look out for when driving near semi-trucks. Remember, safety is the most important thing when driving.

If you’ve already been involved in a truck braking accident and need advice about your claim, contact us today. Our vast experience and abundant knowledge of truck and traffic laws can help you and your family get the settlement, treatment, and emotional compensation you deserve for your injuries. Call today for a free consultation and take the first step to protecting your family’s future.

Feel free to share this page with your loved ones on Facebook and Twitter to help promote safety awareness. With your help, we can work to decrease truck accident injury and fatality rates.