These days, the majority of the commercial trucks traveling Texas’ roadways use compressed air brake systems, which use a specific type of friction brake. While these brake systems offer certain benefits, they are also prone to failure, potentially endangering you and anyone else in a trucker’s path.
Per Transport Topics, a study revealed that air brake failure is a major contributor to today’s commercial truck wrecks, playing a role in 29.4% of them. Air brake system failures are often the result of one of two things: user errors and system malfunctions. However, driver errors relating to the brake system are more common, with trucker mistakes contributing to 87% of all truck crashes reviewed in the study.
Air brake failure due to system malfunctions
Occasionally, air brake systems fail to work properly because something inhibits the stream of air the system needs to stay open and functioning. If anything stops the compressed air from coming through, a truck’s brakes may apply themselves. This may lead to a loss of control on the part of the driver, and particularly he or she is traveling downhill.
Air brake failure due to trucker errors
More air brake failure-related truck crashes result from truck drivers making mistakes that might include over-relying on the brakes or not relying on the engine’s brake effect. When truckers press the brakes the majority of the time when traveling downhill, it may lead to early brake fade, which often impacts the brake system’s performance.
Avoiding commercial trucks is not always possible. However, when making your way down steep hills, it may serve you well to stay out of their paths when possible.