Operating a tractor trailer is a lot more challenging than it seems. Commercial drivers face great pressure in piloting these vehicles safely to avoid accidents. One concern that all operators of heavy trucks deal with is getting up to speed and then maintaining that speed. Truck accident attorneys know that acceleration concerns are one of the many operational issues that can lead to deadly tractor trailer crashes.
Acceleration - the ability to bring a vehicle up to the speed of moving traffic - is a concern that must be understood by commercial drivers to ensure safe operation of tractor trailers. Safety studies show that large vehicles moving slower than those around it will disrupt the flow of traffic, increasing the chance of accidents. Acceleration is of particular concern with tractor trailers that are slow to get up to speed when entering a roadway.
These large vehicles are built with engines that have a large load hauling capability; however, those same engines are very slow starting out, which makes getting up to speed difficult. To compensate for this, truck accident attorneys and safety organizations agree that drivers must be skilled at proper acceleration. They must know when and how their vehicles should enter roadways and understand the danger associated with slow acceleration.
Other Factors Involving Acceleration
Besides the challenge of safely bringing any tractor trailer up to speed from a stop or when entering a roadway, acceleration plays a part in a number of other dangerous situations:
- Negotiating Bends and Curves - Tractor trailers negotiating curves and bends in the road can become unbalanced when traveling too fast to maintain their center of gravity. Additionally, based on vehicle weight, the force of the tires against the road, load balancing and other physical aspects, a heavy vehicle moving too quickly around a curve can actually increase in speed and increase the chance of a rollover.
- Downhill Acceleration - Another concern where increasing speed can be responsible for dangerous truck accidents is on the downhill side of a hill. As tractor trailers travel on a downhill slope, the momentum of the vehicle will automatically increase in speed as a result. Preventing this condition requires that the driver be aware of their increasing speed while going down the decline and use gears or brakes to either slow the vehicle or prevent such increases before they happen. Not only can this type of acceleration result in the tractor trailer rear-ending other vehicles in front of it, truck accident attorneys warn that the constant use of brakes can contribute to crashes caused by brake system failure or overheating and locking up during a hill descent.
- Brake Overuse - Even traveling on a level road can become dangerous due to speed increases when drivers rely heavily on their brakes. Operators who frequently increase speed rather than keep pace with other vehicles on the highway must often use their brakes to slow down. As with the issue with downhill acceleration, overuse of the braking system increases brake wear and the possibility of failure that could result in serious truck accidents.
All vehicles accelerate and decelerate as a means to control speed and safely maneuver through traffic. However, truck accident attorneys point out that when speed increases are not carefully controlled or are overused, it creates dangerous conditions that are known causes of tractor trailer wrecks. Preventing truck accidents caused by improper or uncontrolled acceleration involves good driver judgment and great skill in controlling large tractor trailers!
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