A reliable brake system is one of the most critical components of a commercial truck. When a truck’s air brake system fails, the repercussions often prove catastrophic. Air brake systems are prone to failing in at least two ways, and when brakes fail, truckers often lose control over their vehicles.
Per Transport Topics, air brake failure has a hand in 29.4% of commercial truck crashes. Air brake systems, which most modern trucks rely on, may fail in one of two ways.
Because of a problem within the system
The air brake system delivers a steady air stream to the brake, and this air stream is necessary to keep the brakes open and working properly. In some cases, something interferes with the delivery of the compressed air, which results in the brakes locking and automatically applying. This may result in a truck driver losing control and causing a crash.
Because of a truck driver’s mistakes
Many instances of air brake failure are avoidable and the result of a trucker’s error or errors. Overusing the brake system when going downhill leads to premature brake fade, which impacts brake performance. Relying only on the brakes, rather than using other methods to help slow a truck, such as a jake brake, is another common truck driver error that often leads to truck wrecks. Using the brakes for only about 3 seconds at a time should reduce the chances of air brake failure.
Younger, less experienced trucking professionals are more prone to making mistakes that contribute to air brake failure than older, more seasoned drivers.