How Do Runaway Truck Ramps Work?

When a semi-truck driver loses control of the truck, the consequences for the truck driver and any other vehicles on the road are likely to be devastating. There were 5,005 fatal truck crashes in 2019, with over a quarter of fatal truck crashes occurring on interstates.

For these reasons, runaway truck ramps are common on major highways. These ramps are a critical part of the infrastructure for commercial vehicles to prevent more truck accidents. When traveling near semi-trucks, all drivers are at risk and should be aware of this danger, especially while driving downhill.

How Runaway Truck Ramps Work

The runaway truck ramp is an emergency safety measure often seen next to steep hills or busy turns on highways. Ramps vary in design, materials, and construction, but they are usually made of gravel or sand. They also have concrete barriers along the sides to help keep the truck upright.

If a truck driver loses control of their vehicle, they can turn their vehicle to crash into the runaway truck ramp, slowing its speed. The ramp absorbs the kinetic energy of the speeding truck, causing it to slow down.

Ramps are vital for everyone on the road, especially commercial truck drivers, to be safe. Ramps protect drivers from catastrophic collisions by diverting their vehicles off the road so they can gain enough braking force over their speeding trucks.

Why Truckers and Trucking Companies Need to Practice Safe Driving

An experienced driver understands the importance of observing traffic signals, posted speed limits, and weight restrictions. Allotting sufficient travel time can also help in navigating challenging terrain. Since tractor trailers in the United States weigh up to 80,000 pounds fully loaded, which makes them extremely dangerous in a collision, commercial drivers must adhere to the posted speed limit signs on interstate highways and local roadways.

A well-trained truck driver must also know how to use the truck’s gears efficiently and safely to descend a slope without causing unnecessary stress on the brakes. Speeding or reckless driving can cause the safety systems to fail, resulting in injuries or deaths to drivers and passengers of the vehicles near the truck.

Distracted driving is also a major cause of auto accidents in the United States, and drivers of semi-trucks are no exception. When they become distracted, they can lose control.

Truck drivers rely on a well-maintained and functioning braking system to be safe while driving. Since almost 30% of truck accidents are caused by brake failure, trucking companies need to maintain their fleet’s brakes to prevent malfunctions. If the truck brakes are faulty or poorly calibrated, the truck driver cannot control vehicle speed because of the overheated brakes. If there are issues with the brakes, the trucking company can and should be held liable for resulting crashes.

What to Do if You Were Injured in a Runaway Truck Accident

If you were a driver in another vehicle hit by a speeding truck, call the police and emergency services as soon as possible after an accident, especially if there are injuries.

Collect the truck driver’s name, address, and phone number if a speeding truck has hit you, as well as the name of their employer. Take pictures of the vehicles involved and any damage, if you are able. You can also photograph skid marks and debris patterns from the truck at the accident scene. If you are unable to take pictures, for example, because your injuries are too severe, see if someone else can take pictures for you, such as a witness or responding police officer.

Document all the facts surrounding your accident, including witness testimony, medical records, and police reports. For assistance in collecting the necessary accident information to support a legal claim, contact one of our St. Louis truck accident lawyers.

Contact a St. Louis Truck Accident Lawyer

If you were involved in a truck accident caused by brake failure, you may be eligible for significant compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and property damage. Family members can file a wrongful death claim if their loved one is killed in a truck crash.  

After a semi-truck collision, you will need an experienced truck accident lawyer in St. Louis to help you get maximum compensation for your losses, because your medical costs and pain and suffering will likely be significant. The insurance companies know this, and will fight hard to prevent having to pay you the money you are owed. We can negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf. Contact our law firm for a free consultation to discuss your truck accident case.