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Brake Failure Trucking Accidents

Contact Our San Francisco Truck Accident Lawyers

Brake failures on large trucks have the potential to cause very serious accidents. If you were hurt in a truck accident and are seeking representation, call Scarlett Law Group for a free consultation.

  • Brake failure most often occurs due to:
  • Improper installation
  • The age of the equipment
  • Improper maintenance or repairs

A truck’s brakes can dramatically heat up due to overuse, use of the brakes on a long downgrade, or from sudden stopping (especially at high speeds). Generally, the heavier the truck, the more heat gets generated. In addition, improper loading can make the brakes heat up more during use.

Injured in a truck accident caused by brake failure? The San Francisco truck accident attorneys at Scarlett Law Group can fight for you. Contact us today at (415) 688-2176 to get started with FREE consultation.

Common Braking Issues Caused By Downhill Driving

Long downhill driving is extremely demanding on brakes. Truck drivers need to aware of this and should not underestimate this. If you are on a slope of 6% over 6 miles, the change in elevation will be 199 feet. A free fall from that elevation (1900 feet) will generate a velocity of 235 mph. That is the velocity your truck will have if you do not use the brakes.

This means breaking while negotiating this slope is slowing down from 235 mph. You will need to do a lot of stopping. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that you use the right braking technique and your brakes be in proper condition too.

Not so long ago it was suggested that a continuous application of brakes should be followed rather than intermittent application. But now most experts believe that intermittent braking on a downgrade is the proper way to brake. On a downgrade each application of brake should reduce the speed of a fully loaded truck by about 5 to 6 mph.

Theoretically, the same amount of heat will be generated whether you jam the brakes by continuous application or apply them intermittently. But in practice, unless the brakes are in perfect condition, the continuous application of brakes is likely to result in uneven drum and lining temperatures that will cause problems with the truck's braking system.

Steady, low pressure application of brakes may not cause all the brakes to apply at the same time. This can cause some brakes to more work than others. Brake problems can get aggravated by this technique. The pressure applied on the brakes should be high enough to ensure all the brakes apply and all linings make solid contact with the drums.

Friction Can Lead to an Increase in Drum Temperature

Hot brake lining reduces the friction provided by them resulting in decreased braking. The hot linings do not offer the same resistance to the rotation of the drums. Organic brake linings are composed of glue and a strengthening material, this. When the linings get hot, the glue softens and starts to melt and the linings become slick.

When the break drum heats up, it expands and moves away from the shoes. In an air brake system, the stroke of the pushrod is limited. The stroke is the distance that the shoes can be moved out into the drum. If the brakes are not adjusted carefully, the stroke could fall short when they get hot. Thus, the shoes will fail making good contact with the drums.

Air brake systems are used in heavy trucks. Brakes use friction to stop the vehicle. When an 80,000 pound truck running at 60 miles per hour is brought to a halt using brakes, the drum temperature raises to about 600 degrees F. Improper brakes do not equally distribute the load, which can raise the drum temperature to an unsafe 800-1000 degrees F.

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