For the average motorist, navigating down a steep hill involves little more than using the brakes when necessary. For commercial truckers, however, the process of seeing a truck safely downhill may prove much more involved and complex.

Most modern semi-trucks rely on air brake systems, but there are several circumstances under which these systems may malfunction.

User errors

According to Transport Topics, one of the most common reasons air brake systems fail is because truck drivers fail to use them correctly. Typically, well-trained and highly experienced truck drivers recognize that traveling safely down a steep hill involves more than just slamming on the brakes. Instead, experienced truckers know to use the brakes sporadically and employ the jake brake when necessary while traveling downhill.

When truckers lack experience, however, they are statistically more likely to overuse the brake system, which can cause it to overheat. Once the system overheats, it may malfunction and even catch fire, potentially endangering everyone nearby on the road.

System errors

In some truck crashes, malfunctions within the air brake systems, themselves, come into play. Air brakes need a strong stream of air to keep them open and working properly, but sometimes, defects within the system cause the air to stop flowing. This has the potential to cause the brake system to lock up or apply automatically, both of which may lead to truck wrecks.

When cars and trucks collide, it is often the people in the smaller vehicles who suffer the most. Today’s trucking companies have a duty to not only keep their vehicles safe but their workforce highly trained, too.