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Big Rig Braking Practices That Prevent Tragedies

By Ramsey Prather on May 31, 2023

A red truck runs on a mountain road. 3d render and illustration.

A fully loaded big-rig truck weighs over 40 tons. Under the best circumstances, trucks are awkward, bulky, and difficult to stop. And when a truck crashes into a pedestrian, a motorcycle, or a regular passenger vehicle, it causes devastating injuries and fatalities.

One of the most important parts of operating a big-rig truck is using proper braking techniques when traveling down a long decline. Accidents caused by careless truck drivers result in catastrophic injuries that drastically reduce your quality of life.

To keep everybody safe on the road, trucks should only be operated by mature, experienced, and well-trained drivers. But a lot of trucking companies try to cut corners by hiring people who have no business being behind the wheel of such a large and complex machine.

Negligent Hiring and Bad Drivers Cause Crashes

Brakes fail when drivers ride the brakes instead of using their gears to slow down gradually. Almost every accident caused by brake failure could be prevented if trucking companies hired safe and experienced drivers.

A lot of trucking companies are more interested in making a few extra bucks than doing the right thing to protect you and your family. There’s huge turnover in the trucking industry. That’s because many trucking firms are unwilling to simply hire good drivers and give them the proper incentives to stay with the firm.

Some companies are so desperate to find new drivers that they’ll hire just about anybody who walks through the door, without even making sure they have a good safety record.

Major causes of big rig brake failure include:

  • Inexperienced drivers
  • Insufficient background checks
  • Lack of training
  • Poor truck maintenance
  • Failure to monitor drivers
  • Bad braking techniques

Good Drivers Don’t Ride the Brakes

Like the brakes in your car, truck brakes create friction between the pads and the drum to

slow the vehicle down. But trucks are a lot bigger and heavier than cars, and drivers can’t simply rely on the brakes to stop when they’re traveling down long, steep grades.

Qualified truck drivers know to slow down gradually by downshifting instead of just pumping the brakes. When a truck is descending a steep grade, you have to shift into lower gears and apply the brakes gently to reduce the truck’s speed.

If the driver relies on the brakes too much, the drums and pads will become overheated, causing the drum to expand. This creates an unsafe condition known brake fade as the shoes have to move farther and farther to make contact with the drums. Eventually, brake fade leads to brake failure and the driver loses control of the vehicle.

Injuries Caused by Bad Braking Techniques

It’s crucial for truck drivers to use their transmission to safely slow a truck down. But impatient and unqualified drivers cause thousands of deadly collisions every year. This has drastic consequences for other drivers on the road.

Because trucks have so much mass and kinetic force, they cause severe injuries when they crash into cars. Frequent injuries from truck collisions include:

  • Bone fractures
  • Severe burns
  • Whiplash
  • Crush injuries
  • Amputations
  • Nerve damage
  • Paralysis
  • Internal bleeding
  • Neck and back injuries
  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)

The Insurance Agent Is Not Your Friend

Insurance companies get their profits by denying claims and making lowball offers to accident victims. If you don’t have an experienced personal injury attorney by your side, the insurance company will try to take advantage of you.

Don’t make any statements or sign any agreements with the insurance company until you speak with your attorney!

The experienced Georgia truck accident attorneys at Butler Prather LLP know how to handle big insurance companies. We’ll file a claim against anyone whose negligent behavior contributed to your injuries and help you get the money you need to cover your medical bills, time missed from work, and other expenses caused by the accident.

A personal injury claim for an accident caused by an unsafe trucker includes the following types of damages:

  • Medical expenses
  • Loss of income
  • Disfigurement
  • Pain and suffering
  • Reduced quality of life
  • Loss of earning potential
  • Rehabilitation and physical therapy
  • Home modifications for wheelchair access
  • Wrongful death

Call to Schedule Your FREE Consultation

Unsafe truck drivers and the companies that hire them must be held accountable for the harm they cause.

At Butler Prather LLP, our firm has won record-breaking settlements for clients in over 30 states. We have over 35 years of experience and a long history of success.

Call (706) 322-1990 to learn more today.

Posted in: Truck Accidents

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