Tennessee has more than its fair share of steep hills, and if you find yourself traveling downhill ahead of a semitruck, you may feel anxious. Many commercial truck crashes are the result of air brake failure issues. When a truck’s brakes fail to work as intended, it endangers your life and that of everyone on the road.
According to Transport Topics, air brake failure issues have become so commonplace that they now play a role in 29.4% of commercial truck wrecks. Most instances of air brake failure come about because of one of two circumstances.
Brake system malfunctions
Most instances of air brake failure arise either due to malfunctions in the braking system or a lack of experience, knowledge or training on the part of the truck driver. Air brakes, as the name implies, require a regular airstream that keeps them open and operating. If anything inhibits that air from getting through, the brakes may freeze up and automatically apply themselves, resulting in a truck driver losing control.
Truck driver negligence
Air brake systems may also fail if the person driving the truck rides them too hard or for too long when traveling downhill. Over-relying on the brakes may lead to premature brake fade and inferior brake performance. It may also lead to fires within the truck itself, which raises the risk of a truck crash.
Most semitruck drivers who overuse the brakes, rather than using them sporadically in conjunction with a jake brake, are at least somewhat new to the industry. Experienced truck drivers are often aware of the risks associated with overusing the brakes and use other methods to help slow their semis.