Whether you’re driving across the country or through any mountainous region, you may have seen a dirt road at the end of a steep decline that says “runaway trucks ramp.” But what exactly is a runaway truck, and how often are these ramps used? Let’s find out.
A runaway truck describes when either a truck is going too fast or is in too high gear when going downhill. The downward momentum from the slope dramatically increases speed, but the brakes don’t have enough mechanical leverage to slow the vehicle down. When this happens, the truck will continue to gain speed, usually until it crashes.
That’s where the runaway truck ramp comes in. It’s a safety net designed to decrease momentum as quickly as possible. It might be a steep gravel road that will slow the truck down or a pit full of loose dirt that creates a lot of friction. Whatever the case, it may cause the truck to crash, but it potentially saves lives.
Dangers of a Runaway Truck
A runaway truck is a danger to everyone on the road, especially drivers in front of the truck. Imagine that you’re driving down a steep hill and look in the rear-view mirror to see a truck rapidly gaining on you. You might not even realize the truck driver has lost control and that you need to get out of their way, even if they’re using their horn. That’s because many drivers don’t realize that trucks can “run away” in the first place.
Drivers beside and behind the truck aren’t safe either. If the truck driver panics or doesn’t recognize it’s too late to slow down, they may slam the brakes. Even in normal circumstances, this could cause a “jackknife,” meaning the trailer moves faster than the cab and swipes across lanes to get ahead of the truck. At high speeds, a jacknife is much more likely to carry its momentum forward and potentially cause a rollover that endangers everyone on the road.
While this sounds extreme, it’s more common than you might imagine. On average, runaway truck accidents occur about 4,000 times per year in the United States (accounting for about 1-in-100 truck accidents). Sadly, many of these incidents cause catastrophic or fatal injuries even when the ramps are nearby.
When someone is injured or killed in a truck crash, they and their families have a right to pursue justice. If you or someone you love have been injured and need help moving forward, our team is here to help. To discuss your case with an experienced Shreveport truck accident attorney from Morris & Dewett Injury Lawyers, don’t hesitate to send us an email or call (888) 492-5532 today.