Due to size and weight alone, commercial trucks make many motorists uneasy, and with good reason – when cars and trucks collide with one another, it is the smaller, lighter vehicles that typically suffer the most damage. While sharing the road with tractor-trailers can be dangerous even under the best of circumstances, sharing the road with a truck after that truck loses its brakes can prove downright deadly.

Unfortunately, brake failure is a frequent factor in commercial truck crashes, and while some brakes fail because of faulty mechanics or similar circumstances, other brake failure issues arise because of a truck driver’s error or negligence. These days, many commercial trucks rely on air brake systems, and this is due in part to the fact that they are more reliable in some ways than hydraulic brakes. There are, however, at least two ways in which a semi’s air brake system can fail.

Common reasons air brakes fail

In some cases, air brakes can fail if they do not get an adequate stream of air supplied to them when needed. If the brake system, itself, fails, the brakes may not get enough compressed air to function properly, and in such circumstances, they can lock up and essentially press themselves.

While this can prove problematic for all truck drivers, it may be especially so for younger, less-experienced truck drivers who may not know how to respond to such a situation. Another common cause of air brake failure that can impact your safety as well as that of everyone on the road involves a trucker relying too much on the brake system as he or she navigates downhill. When the brakes undergo heavy use down steep hills, they can overheat and catch on fire. Riding the brakes is something younger, less-seasoned truck drivers are more likely to do.

When a commercial truck loses its brakes, it can endanger every driver or passenger in its path. The more time and attention trucking companies devote to training their employees, the safer the motoring public should be.