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blog home Truck Accident When Trucks Should Use Runaway Truck Ramps

When Trucks Should Use Runaway Truck Ramps

By The Husband and Wife Law Team on April 10, 2023

Big Rig with yellow car and white

Like most people, you’ve probably noticed the yellow signs along hilly mountain roads that say, “Runaway Truck Ramp.” You may have also seen the ramps that veer upward along the side of a downhill-sloping road.

When a truck’s brakes fail as it’s traveling downhill, a devastating collision may occur.

Runaway truck ramps are designed to stop a truck and prevent these accidents.

What Causes Runaway Truck Crashes?

According to a study conducted by the Federal Motor Car Safety Administration (FMCSA), about 30 percent of trucking accidents are caused by brake failure. These crashes are especially common on steep mountain roads.

Runaway truck crashes are some of the deadliest accidents on the highway. A fully loaded big-rig truck weighs up to 80,000 pounds and when it can’t stop, the driver has limited options.

The sad fact is that most runaway truck accidents could be prevented. They’re usually caused by poor truck maintenance, driver error, or equipment failure. When trucking companies try to save a few dollars by cutting costs, innocent drivers and their families often pay with their lives.

Frequent causes of runaway truck accidents include:

  • Poor braking techniques
  • Faulty truck parts
  • Lack of driver training
  • Negligent hiring of unsafe drivers
  • Poorly adjusted brakes
  • Loss of brake fluid
  • Worn-out brake pads
  • Overheated brakes
  • Incorrect air pressure
  • Speeding

How Truck Ramps Save Lives

When used correctly, runaway truck ramps can be a real lifesaver. But they’re designed to be a last resort after the truck driver has exhausted all other methods for slowing down the truck as it travels down a steep grade.

The first thing truck drivers will want to do to protect their brakes is always brake gradually and never ride the brakes. This causes overheating, which reduces the ability of the brake pads to grip the brake drum. Experienced truck drivers also know how to protect their brakes by downshifting.

A runaway truck ramp uses gravel or sand to slow the truck down by gradually increasing friction. Sometimes they have wire nets to stop the truck.

When an emergency happens and the brakes go out while the truck is traveling downhill, the driver will want to the following steps to prevent a horrible crash:

  1. Remain calm.
  2. Engage the Jake Brakes.
  3. Don’t jerk the wheel suddenly because this could cause jackknife or rollover.
  4. If possible, contact dispatch and let them know there’s an emergency.
  5. Use signs to locate the nearest runaway ramp.
  6. Carefully enter the ramp and stay centered.
  7. Follow all directions to slow the truck down.
  8. When the truck stops, the driver will want to assess the situation and check to see if they have any injuries before getting out of the truck.

Schedule a FREE Consultation Today

You don’t have to take the first offer the insurance company makes. If you were harmed by a negligent truck driver, the Phoenix truck accident attorneys at The Husband & Wife Law Team will file a claim to help you get the money you need to cover your medical expenses and other costs such as time missed from work.

Our team has won millions of dollars in settlements for our clients. We have a perfect 10.0 Avvo rating, and we’ve been recognized by Super Lawyers for providing outstanding legal services.

Call (602) 457-6222 to learn more today. You won’t owe us anything unless we win your case.

Posted in: Truck Accident

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