Driving a tractor trailer requires skill and experience to prevent damaging truck accidents. Besides the many mechanical problems that can arise, operators of these vehicles must also use the right techniques to prevent problems. This is especially true regarding the braking technique used to stop a heavy vehicle and improper use of the brakes. Unfortunately, most truck accident lawyers advise that many serious crashes are caused by driver error due to incorrect braking and any resulting problems.
Good Braking Technique
When truck accidents related to the braking system happen, it is easy to assume there must have been some mechanical failure or faulty part involved. System failure may be to blame; however, the cause of that failure often has little to do truck equipment and more to do with a driver’s braking technique. Large, heavy tractor trailers leave little room for forgiveness in terms of operation. Poor adjustment and stopping practices that unnecessarily increase wear on the braking system or cause lock ups are different than actual part failures according to truck accident lawyers who help determine the true cause of a wreck.
Poor Braking Issues
Despite the fact that loaded tractor trailers require a great deal of stopping power, truck accident lawyers know that disaster can happen when brakes are improperly used. Considering this known fact, following are some of the most prevalent conditions when locked brakes due to poor stopping techniques can result in dangerous truck accidents:
- Jackknifing - A jackknifed tractor trailer is the direct result of poor stopping technique. The tractor brakes lock up but the trailer brakes function normally. In this situation, the tractor stops more rapidly than its trailer, which spins around backward as the rear end continues its forward motion.
- Trailer Swing - The opposite effect is trailer swing, which involves locked brakes on the trailer while those on the tractor function properly. The result is the trailer sliding and swinging outward from behind the path of the tractor.
- Bobtail Tractors - The brakes on a tractor trailer combination are designed to be adjusted to best handle the two units together. When a tractor is driven without a loaded trailer behind it, an unskilled driver could lock the rear tractor brakes, causing the vehicle to skid or spin on the road.
In addition to these situations, a driver could lock their brakes or excessively damage the braking system from overuse of the brakes when driving downhill, traveling too fast for conditions on slick roads, or otherwise needing to apply the brakes quickly without first reducing the vehicle’s momentum.
While anti-lock braking systems have become an important automatic safety feature for passenger vehicles, truck accident lawyers report that there is no suitable system yet available for heavy trucks. Whether or not this is actually true, the fact remains that most tractor trailers on our highways have no anti-lock features. This leaves the prevention of serious truck accidents caused by lock ups and poor braking to drivers, who must be experienced and particularly skilled at anticipating and preventing such incidents.
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