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Sign of a Runaway Truck Ramp on a Rural Highway

What Is a Runaway Truck?

Signs for runaway truck ramps are a common sight on steep roads and dangerous highways, especially in mountainous areas. But what exactly is a runaway truck, and what can happen if a truck driver can’t get to one of these ramps? Let’s find out.

What Is a Runaway Truck?

A runaway truck means that a semi-truck or other large vehicle gains so much speed while traveling downhill that the driver loses control. Because of the vehicle’s weight and the slope, the truck will rapidly gain speed until something stops it.

The force of momentum can be so powerful that the brakes lack the leverage to get the truck back to a safe speed. A driver at the wheel must try to maintain control until they find a runaway truck ramp.

For this reason, truckers going over a hill need to slow down and downshift so the transmission creates more resistance. Even then, they’ll likely need to use the brakes to stay at a safe speed, which for trucks is usually significantly lower than the speed limit.

What Are the Dangers?

Facing a runaway truck is terrifying because no one on the road is safe. If the truck driver doesn’t realize what’s happening, they may panic and slam the brakes. This can cause the trailer to “jacknife,” meaning it swings sideways into a V-shape, potentially hitting anyone near the truck.

Likewise, drivers in front of a runaway truck may not realize that the quickly approaching truck in their mirror cannot slow down and might be on a collision course. While truck crashes tend to have more serious injuries in general, runaway crashes are often fatal due to unsafe speeds.

If you or someone you love suffered severe injuries in a truck crash, we can help. To schedule an appointment with an experienced truck accident attorney from Dunk Law Firm, please don’t hesitate to call (800) 674-9339 or send us an email.