Risky Techniques: Engine Braking in Trucks Could Cause Accidents

No vehicle’s brakes are immune to overheating. You may have experienced this in your own car and if you’ve ever been driving down an extremely long and steep hill, you may see gravel ramps off to the side of the road called runaway truck ramps, which are designed to help truck drivers stop when their brakes are too hot to be effective.

Put the Brakes On it: Engine Braking Is a Useful Tool That Must Be Used With Care

With up to 80,000 pounds and lots of momentum, a truck’s brakes are under a lot of pressure to perform. In order to preserve these brakes for when they are really needed, truck drivers often employ an engine braking method called compression release, or Jake braking.

This method is very effective when used properly, and is characterized by a large roar; this roar is caused by the cylinders’ exhaust valves opening, which slows the engine and the truck. Noisy, but effective—sometimes too effective. The sudden slowing can cause a truck’s wheels to skid if done on a wet or slick surface. Skidding in any vehicle is dangerous, but in a truck, this loss of control can cause a dangerous wreck.

If you have been involved in an accident with a truck that appeared to lose control, the driver may have braked improperly using his or her Jake brake. Many truck manuals come with specific warnings to avoid engine braking in wet conditions or in the bobtail configuration, simply because of the added risk.

If a driver ignored those warnings and caused an accident as a result, you deserve compensation, and Augusta attorney Chris Hudson can help you. Call today to learn more and schedule your free consultation.

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