Semi-truck brake failure is not exactly rare on Colorado’s many mountain roadways. If a truck driver does not obey warning signs and respond accordingly, his or her brakes may overheat. Because commercial trucks can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds, a collision with an out-of-control truck may result in serious injury or death.
If you have ever headed west on I-70, you have no doubt seen runaway truck ramps. After all, there are a few between Floyd Hill and Glenwood Canyon. You may not realize, though, that these ramps may save your life.
Using runaway ramps
Truck escape ramps come in a few different styles. They may be flat or on an incline and may contain either sand or gravel. In Colorado, truck ramps tend to go up a mountainside and away from traffic. When a commercial truck’s brakes fail, the trucker maneuvers the vehicle onto the ramp. The deep gravel quickly slows the vehicle as it proceeds upward. Then, the gravel locks the truck in place, preventing it from sliding backward. Usually, truckers must enlist the help of a towing service to extricate the truck from the ramp.
Keeping yourself safe
Even though you cannot drive a runaway truck onto an escape ramp, you can take steps to keep yourself safe. First, watch commercial vehicles for signs of bad brakes. These may include smoke or excessive speed. If you notice these, clear the lane to allow plenty of space for the truck to move onto the escape ramp. Also, if you have car trouble or need to stop your vehicle, do not block the escape path. Doing so may result in a disastrous collision.
Semi-truck drivers should know how to use escape ramps. They should also take advantage of them when necessary. If a negligent driver fails to do so, you may sustain a life-altering injury. Fortunately, if a crash occurs, you likely have some options for pursuing fair compensation for your injuries and property damage.