Runaway 18 wheeler truck accidents are deadly occurrences on many highways with hills and steep grades. When a loaded semi truck gains speed and loses control, the vehicles in front of that truck are in imminent danger. These types of rear end collisions are highly destructive, causing serious injury and many fatalities each year. Avoiding truck accidents caused by runaway trucks requires truck drivers as well as other vehicle drivers to understand how these accidents happen and avoid the circumstances that cause them.
What Is A Runaway Truck?
A truck that continues to gain speed and becomes difficult for a driver to stop in time to avoid hitting other vehicles in its path is termed a runaway truck. Runaway trucks pose a great threat to other vehicles on the highway, since these rear end collisions at high speed are very deadly.
How Runaway Truck Accidents Happen
Runaway trucks are those that gain enough speed so that the truck’s braking system cannot slow it down in time to avoid a dangerous crash. This usually happens on the down side of an incline or hill on the highway, where trucks gain speed going down the decline, moving much faster than the driver intended. Steep downgrades can obviously cause this condition; however, longer, lower downgrades can be more dangerous as truck drivers may not realize the truck is going out of control on a more insignificant slope. Runaway trucks may also be the result of taking curves too sharply or too quickly as well as on a road that both slopes and curves.
The reason why trucks end up out of control in these instances is due to a combination of gravitational pull on the vehicle and the momentum caused by the weight of the truck. As these two forces combine, the vehicle increases speed without any further propulsion from the engine. Once this starts happening, the driver may not realize that the truck is moving faster than intended. By then, the momentum is so great that the truck’s brakes cannot actually stop the vehicle when the brakes are applied. Brake failure, glazing, heating, loss of friction, and other effects make the truck’s brakes useless, leaving drivers helpless to stop their heavy trucks before hitting something or someone.
Preventing Runaway Truck Accidents
Preventing these types of accidents requires the good training and skill of commercial truck drivers, not to mention driver alertness to recognize the conditions that can cause a runaway truck. Trucks must be driven at a low speed, even on a downgrade, to prevent the possibility of speeds fast enough to cause the braking system to fail. The use of poor quality brakes, damaged brakes, or brakes that need replacing adds to the risk of a runaway truck.
Additionally, passenger vehicles should stay out of the path of semi trucks coming down hills and long, sloping grades to avoid the possibility of being rear ended by a runaway truck. Many highways also have runaway truck ramps designed to slow down a runaway truck; however, preventing a runaway is always the best way to avoid a deadly accident.
Runaway 18 wheeler truck accidents are just one of the many kinds of trucking accidents that can have disastrous results if not avoided. By understanding the reasons why these accidents happen, truck drivers and commercial carriers can avoid runaway conditions with good driver training and properly maintained trucks to reduce the chance of brake failure. Preventing truck accidents like runaway crashes also requires awareness and alertness by truck drivers and everyone else sharing the roads with them!
Pearland, Pasadena, Webster, League City, Webster, Manvel, Alvin, Friendswood, La Marque, Texas City, and Galveston
Hildebrand & Wilson, LLP
Robert W. Hildebrand, Attorney at Law
J. Daniel Wilson, Attorney at Law
7830 Broadway, Suite 122
Pearland TX 77581
Phone: (281) 408-2190